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'Insufficient Evidence' Annan Interfered In Contract

29 March 2005 -- An inquiry into the UN's oil-for-food program has found insufficient evidence that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan interfered in the awarding of a contract to a company that employed his son.

The inquiry found that Annan appeared to be unaware in 1998 that the company -- Cotecna -- was bidding on a humanitarian inspections contract.

But the head of the inquiry, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, said a later investigation into a possible conflict-of-interest initiated by Annan was inadequate.

"We have had no suspicion of evidence from anybody we talked to that he interfered with the selection process for Cotecna. The adequacy of the investigation I am sure is a subject that has consequences and how that will come up again in the future I don't know," Volcker said.

The inquiry also found that Annan's son, Kojo, and Cotecna deceived the secretary-general about an ongoing financial relationship from 1999 to 2004.

Annan released a statement saying the inquiry had cleared him of any wrongdoing. But a U.S. Senator who heads a key committee, Norm Coleman, repeated his call for Annan's resignation over the affair.