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UN Staffer Fired Over Oil-For-Food Role

1 June 2005 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has fired staff member Joseph Stephanides for alleged wrongdoing in connection with the oil-for-food program for Iraq.

UN associate spokesman Stephane Dujarric made the announcement today, saying Annan concluded Stephanides had committed "serious misconduct."

Stephanides is the first UN official to be publicly fired in the wake of an independent probe into alleged corruption in the program, in which Iraq was allowed to sell oil for humanitarian reasons while under sanctions.

Investigators had accused Stephanides, head of the UN Security Council Affairs Division, of violating UN rules by actively participating in a process that "prejudiced and preempted" competitive bidding for an oil-for-food contract.

A report by the investigators said Stephanides "tainted" the competitive bidding process for a company to inspect humanitarian goods entering Iraq under the program. The report said Lloyd's Register Inspection Limited won the contract even though there was a lower bidder.