Money Transferred to Iraqi Fund without UN Approval

Middle East Online
November 11, 2003

UN officials say $1 bn transferred from UN account to Iraqi Development Fund without Security Council approval.

One billion dollars from the UN account for Iraq was transferred last month to the Iraqi fund controlled by the US-led coalition without the formal approval of the UN Security Council, UN officials said Thursday.

The money was moved from the United Nations' "oil for food" account to the coalition's Iraqi Development Fund (IDF) on October 31, according to Fred Eckhard, the official spokesman of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The payment was the second of its kind from the account set up during the years when Iraq was under UN-mandated sanctions.

"We were only required by the council to pay one billion dollars in advance of the shutdown of the oil-for-food programme. The payment of the second billion was voluntary on our part, and we think it would be welcome that this money is going back to the Iraqi people, where it can do some good," Eckhard said.

UN Resolution 1483, adopted by the Security Council on May 22, said that the oil-for-food fund should close on November 21 and that any remaining money should be transferred to the IDF. The UN fund was set up in 1996 in a bid to ease the pressure on the Iraqi population while maintaining sanctions pressure on then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

According to a diplomat at the United Nations who spoke on condition of anonymity, German diplomat Gunther Pleuger, who heads the UN sanctions committee, had expressed surprise that the latest payment was made without his knowledge.

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