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Annan Agrees To Extend Oil-For-Food Committee

Annan Agrees To Extend Oil-For-Food Committee To Follow-Up On Findings

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has written to Paul Volcker, chair of the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) into the scandal-ridden Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme, to agree to Mr. Volcker’s request to extend the Commission’s follow-up operations until the end of March 2006.

According to a UN spokesman, the extension is exclusively for the purpose of assisting national authorities who wish to follow up on the findings included in the Commission’s reports.

Starting 1 January, the follow-up entity, to be called the Office of the IIC, will be headed by a new Executive-Director. It will not retain any investigatory authority, as the IIC has completed its investigation and its three commissioners will remain on a strictly advisory capacity.

Upon receiving the 27 October final report of the Committee, which revealed a network of kickbacks and surcharges involving companies registered in a wide range of countries, Mr. Annan called on Member States to take action against illegal practises by companies under their jurisdiction.

At the same time he reiterated his commitment to "vital" reform of the UN management structure in response to criticism in earlier IIC reports that found failures in actions by the UN Secretariat in regard to the now defunct $64-billion Programme which allowed Saddam Hussein's sanctions-bound regime to sell oil to buy essential supplies.

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