Friday, December 24, 2004

UN oil for food scandal - heads roll

The New York Sun is reporting "Key Aide to Annan Retires Abruptly Amid U.N. Scandal"

In an announcement that surprised even the U.N. spokesman, Fred Eckhard, who made it at a regular press briefing after a note was passed to him from upstairs, Mr. Annan said that he accepted a request from his chief of staff, Iqbal Riza, to retire "with very mixed emotions." His retirement will take effect on January 15, Mr. Annan said in the statement.

Some say Riza was impeding the oil for food scandal.

A U.N. insider said Mr. Riza leads a group of advisers who have called on Mr. Annan to take a hard line, urging him to refuse to share information with the congressional oil-for-food investigations.

And even the UN staff wanted him out.

Mr. Riza has raised the ire of the U.N. staff union recently at a meeting in the aftermath of allegations against the head of the U.N.'s internal investigative arm. Some said that the chief of staff had worked to squash the investigation into allegations of abuse of power. When the union voted for a resolution that expressed no confidence in Mr. Annan's senior management, many privately said this was directed at Mr. Riza.

Time for Annan to go as well.

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