by Judi McLeod, Canadafreepress.com
February 8, 2005
While United Nations Secretary General Kofi annan was patently ignoring a President Robert Mugabe oppressed Zimbabwe, his son, Kojo was making money building the Zimbabwean capitol's airport.
Mugabe runs the ZaNU-PF, a regime that Condoleeza Rice labels an outpost of tyranny.
Why Kojo annan's business activities in Zimbabwe have not surfaced in the ongoing probe of the Oil-For-Food Program should surely raise concern about both the integrity and sincerity of the investigation.
It's a global village as far as Kojo's business agenda is concerned.
First came West africa where annan's youngest son was working for the Swiss-based Cotecna with ties to the Oil-For-Food Program. While the world was led to believe that annan Junior came off the Cotecna payroll in 1999, he continued to cash Cotnecna's cheques until 2004.
Morocco came next when it was revealed that Kojo annan and Hani Yamani, bona fide Saudi national were negotiating the sale of $60 million worth of oil to a Moroccan company. Yamani is the businessman son of the powerful Sheikh ahmed Yamani, former Saudi oil minister and OPEC founder.
In Zimbabwe, Kojo annan and his friend and business confrere Yamani were in bed with Leo Mugabe, nephew of President Robert Mugabe.
Present for key meetings, Kojo annan was flown to Morroco to close the big oil deal, which for reasons unknown was ultimately abandoned by Yamani.
Here's how the Zimbabwe deal went down.
In the wayward way in which the Zimbabwe government sometimes conducts its business affairs, it was a Cabinet Order that awarded the tender for construction of the Harare airport to a little-known company, called air Harbour Technologies (aHT). aHT is owned and run by Hani Yamani.
The contract to build the Harare airport was awarded to aHT by Mugabe's ruling ZaNU-PF government despite its fourth place ranking by the tender board.
Yamani had made contributions to the ZaNU-PF Party, but whether that was a factor in landing the contract must be left for speculation.
The tender was eventually awarded to aHT from Cyprus, whose local agent is President Mugabe's nephew, Leo, contemporary chum of Kojo and Yamani.
Even with Zimbabwe caught up in the kind of political strife that sees its own people starving, the contract to build the new Harare airport was going to make somebody rich.
Estimated to cost Z$5 billion, by the time of its completion in april of 2001, the airport terminal had cost Z$7 billion.
Kojo annan, Kofi's youngest son, only 26 years of age at the time, served on the aHT board with Yamani, with whom he was also negotiating the sale of two million barrels of oil in 2001, in the same timeframe the airport project was coming to an end.
In Harare, President Mugabe was being linked to the payment of unauthorized commissions during construction of the airport. as the project was about to wrap up, serious rifts were also developing between aHT, the main contractor and local representatives and government officials.
Before it was over, the airport project had become a tale of cronyism that leached all the way back to over to Manhattan's United Nations via Kofi annan's son Kojo, Mugabe's nephew, Leo and Yamani, the jet-setting son of the famous and powerful former Saudi oil minister, Sheikh ahmed Yamani.
It all added up to a powder keg waiting for the strike of a match.
In July 1999, Yamani wrote a letter to Mugabe, complaining about excessive kickbacks. His letter was leaked to an independent newspaper in December, 2000.
That lit the match.
Following publication of the letter by the newspaper, the newspaper's printing works were destroyed by a massive explosive. No arrests were made among widespread speculation that state agents were involved in the bombing.
While the international arena has paid scant attention to Zimbabwe while it struggles under the firm boot of Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruling party was in proactive drive with the Intelligence agency of one Saddam Hussein.
Indeed, Hussein's Intelligence agency had a section dedicated solely to Zimbabwe, although thus far no one has ever been able to explain why.
Zimbabwe recently ordered $200 million worth of military equipment from China. No one can figure out how Mugabe's paying for it.
Meanwhile, Oil-For-Food investigator Paul Volcker, who has stated that he intends to table another interim report on Kojo annan, has his homework cut out for him.
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]