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Former Head of Oil-for-Food Program Resigns from UN
2005-8-8 9:40:02
The former head of the UN Oil-for-Food program in Iraq has resigned from the United Nations, on the eve of a report which is likely to accuse him of corruption.

In his resignation letter, Benon Sevan criticized Secretary-General Kofi Annan for failing to defend the Oil-for-Food Program and then "sacrificing" Sevan for political expediency.

In a lengthy statement issued on Thursday by his lawyer Eric Lewis, Sevan expected to be accused of taking kickbacks under the 64-billion-dollar humanitarian operation by the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC), led by the former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

In a February 3 interim report, the Volcker committee expressed suspicion about four payments, amounting to $160,000, that Sevan had declared to the United Nations as funds from his now-deceased aunt.

He noted in the resignation letter that it is not credible that after running a 64-billion-dollar program, he would have compromised his career for 160,000 dollars.

Sevan had retired from the United Nations but remained a UN staff member receiving only a symbolic salary of one dollar a year in order to help the investigation.

The humanitarian program for Iraq ran from 1996 to 2003.

(Source: Reuters)
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