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UN Chief Promises To Expose Scandal

4 February 2005 -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan vowed today to uncover the truth around the flawed management of the UN's oil-for-food program in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Annan said any UN officials involved in corruption in connection with the program would be disciplined.

"We are as determined as everyone to get to the bottom of this," Annan said. "We do not want this shadow to hang over the UN. So, we want to get to the bottom of it, get to the truth, and take appropriate measures to deal with the gaps."

The probe into the way the oil-for-food program was managed focuses in part on how some firms may have paid some UN officials and Saddam Hussein's regime kickbacks in exchange for the right to sell Iraqi oil. Investigators say Saddam's government earned hundreds of millions of dollars through such kickbacks.

The program was set up to allow Iraq to sell oil to buy humanitarian aid as an exception to UN-imposed trade sanctions on Saddam's regime.

The UN has promised to discipline the former head of the UN oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan, after investigators said he received oil allocations from Iraq.

Sevan denies any wrongdoing.