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No Canadian Investigation into the United Nations Oil-for-Food

by Marinka Peschmann, Special to Canada Free Press

December 10, 2004

Kofi Annan Must Go, headlined Senator Norm Coleman’s December 1st Wall Street Journal op-ed. As calls for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s resignation grew legs, 77 U.S. Senators drafted the ‘United Nations Oil-for-Food Accountability Act,’ legislation designed to deny partial U.S. funding to the UN until they hand over Oil-for-Food documents to U.S. investigators. Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Affairs Department spokesperson Marie-Christine Lilkoff told Canada Free Press "no", Canada is not investigating Oil-for-Food. Canada is the 7th largest United Nations donor and contributed north of $130 million in 2004.

Canada Free Press has learned to expect Canada in the "near future" to join Britain, France, Spain, Russia, China, Germany and Australia in support of Kofi Annan.

It was Coleman’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee of Investigations who uncovered that Saddam swindled "more than U.S. $21 billion through abuses of the Oil-for-Food program and UN sanctions."

Here are figures Canadians might want to know: Canada's population of more than 32 million pay 2.813 percent of the UN’s ‘Regular’ Budget. According to the UN’s Budget Honour Roll, Canadians added U.S. $40,395,605 to UN coffers in 2004, U.S. $34,536,208 in 2003, and U.S. $28,638,290 in 2002. The largest donor, and permanent Security Council member, the U.S., with over 290 million people pay 22 percent of the UN’s Regular Budget yet remains in the arrears category. Estimates for 2004 and 2005 top U.S. $3.16 billion. 

China with approximately 1.3 billion people contributed U.S. $29,481,755 to the UN’s Regular Budget in 2004, U.S. $20,683,922 in 2003, and U.S. $17,156,324 in 2002. China, like Canada appears not to be investigating Oil-for-Food, but unlike Canada, which presently does not hold a seat on the UN Security Council, China is a permanent member. Several factors including per capital income play a role in determining donations figures from Member States to the UN.

The UN’s Regular Budget covers most of the UN's regular expenses, but excludes Peacekeeping funds and monies earmarked for UN Specialized Agencies and Programs. U.N.I.C.E.F, World Food Program, International Criminal Court, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and the UN’s Population Fund are a handful of Specialized UN programs taxpayers around the globe pour money into. Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt recently reported that International Co-Operation Minister Aileen Carrol will increase Canada’s annual Population Fund’s contribution from "$13.1-million" to "$67.4 million over four years," $9 million will be "directed to a fund for birth-control supplies such as condoms."

Canada's UN peacekeeping operation budget from April 2003 to March 2004 topped $77.8 million in addition to Canada's Regular Budget contribution and is separate from the $20 million financial offer Prime Minister Martin pledged to Sudan during the UN’s 59th General Assembly last September. 

Two weeks ago the UN was coiled in another damage-control posture, when details emerged that Kofi’s son, Kojo received payments through February 2004, from Cotecna, a Swiss company, charged by the UN to supervise Iraq's imports during Oil-for-Food. Reportedly, Kojo’s employment with Cotecna ceased in late 1998.

On December 1st, 2,700 UN staff members signed a letter supporting Kofi Annan, "More than ever, we support the Secretary-General in his balanced, fair and substantive approach." According to the UN’s secretary-general's office, the UN Secretariat, excluding programs and specialized agencies, employs worldwide a "ballpark" figure of "approximately 12,000 people." On Wednesday, Annan received a standing ovation from Security Council delegates.

At last Friday's UN Correspondent Awards dinner, Kofi Annan made it clear he has no plans to step down, "You'll be pleased to hear that tonight, I have resigned…  myself to having a good time," the Secretary-General teased, "Have a splendid evening, everybody, see you in a year--or three, if you're so gracious as to invite me back after I've retired."

A Canadian Connection?

According to Paul Volcker’s Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program (IIC), TotalFinalElf part of Total International Limited, a French company received U.S. $1,745.693 billion or 2.72 percent of the total Oil-for-Food Sales.

Paul Desmarais, Jr., chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s Power Corporation on May 7, 2002 was appointed by TotalFinaElf shareholders to serve a three-year term following his father's resignation. As Canada Free Press’ Judi McLeod reported, Prime Minister "Martin replaced Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Chretien’s daughter, France is married to Andre Desmarais, son of Paul Desmarais. Desmarais is the largest shareholder and director of France's TotalFinaElf." The Financial Post reported, "In 1974, Desmarais, Sr., made Martin president of Canada Steamship Lines and then in 1981, he made him spectacularly rich by selling the company to him and a partner for $180 million."

Total International Limited reaped more than 31 times what the sole Canadian Company OILEXCO Incorporated fetched during the once noble Oil-for-Food program. Volcker’s records show OILEXCO earned US$55.660 million or 0.09% of the Oil-for-Food sales. 

Former Director of Canada’s Security Intelligence Service, Reid Morden is one of 10 senior employees on Volcker’s IIC staff probing the UN’s Oil-for-Food Program. Canada Free Press has learned Morden is not working on behalf of the Canadian government. It appears Canadians will have to wait for the United States and Paul Volcker to expose the dark truth behind the "most extensive fraud in the history of the UN."

Marinka Peschmann is a freelance writer whose first book collaboration, the best-selling The Kid Stays In The Picture; was made into a documentary. She's contributed to several books and stories ranging from showbiz and celebrities to true crime and politics.