Auditor of UN Oil-for-Food programme to answer US congressional inquiries

16 February 2005

The United Nations is making available to United States congressional investigators the chief auditor of the UN Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq to provide information about the multi-billion dollar humanitarian operation, a UN spokesman said today.

In a letter sent to Senators Norm Coleman and Carl Levin on Monday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Chef de Cabinet, Mark Malloch Brown, said Dagfinn Knutsen would be available to brief them and their colleagues from the other investigative committees.

"As the lead auditor of all of the OIOS audits into the Oil-for-Food programme, no one is better placed to answer whatever questions Congress members may have on this particular issue of audits," UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

He recalled that last week in Washington, DC, Mr. Malloch Brown told US lawmakers that the UN would work with Congress to ensure an orderly process that meets the needs of all the congressional committees and those of the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) commissioned by the Secretary-General and chaired by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Senator Coleman is the Chairman of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is holding hearings on Oil-for-Food. Senator Levin is its ranking minority member.