Oil-for-food program timeline
CBC News Online | October 27, 2005
April 14, 1995:
The UN Security Council passes Resolution 986, which allows Iraqi to buy food and medicine with money raised from the sale of its oil. Iraq doesn't accept the resolution until May 1996.
The Memorandum of Understanding to begin the program is signed.
The oil-for-food program begins operations.
The first shipment of food arrives.
The Security Council votes to renew the oil-for-food program. The program would be renewed every six months for nearly seven years.
The first shipments of food arrive in Iraq.
Sept. 30, 1998:
Denis Halliday, director of the oil-for-food program, resigns, saying the program does not even meet the minimum requirements for a healthy diet.
Feb. 3, 1999:
Kofi Annan orders all American and British UN workers, including oil-for-food monitors, out of Iraq.
Feb. 13, 2000:
Hans von Sponeck, the second director of the program, resigns to protest the impact of UN sanctions on the Iraqi people.
Dec. 5, 2002:
The Security Council votes to extend the oil-for-food program for another six months, but agrees to a U.S. demand to review the list of items Baghdad will be barred from importing.
March 28, 2003:
The UN Security Council votes to restart the oil-for-food program, but with Kofi Annan in charge of oil sales and distribution, instead of Iraq.
Nov. 21, 2003:
The program is formally terminated and its functions turned over to the Coalition Provisional Authority.
April 7, 2004:
The U.S. Government Accountability Office alleges that the Saddam regime generated $10.1 billion in illegal revenues from oil smuggling and surcharges on oil sales through oil-for-food.
April 21, 2004:
The UN Security Council authorizes an independent inquiry into allegations of corruption and fraud in the oil-for-food program.
Sept. 30, 2004:
An investigation led by Charles Duelfer, chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, describes the program as a "key turning point" for Saddam's regime. "The Regime quickly came to see that [oil-for-food] could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development."
Nov. 26, 2004:
The UN admits that Kojo Annan, the son of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former employee of Swiss firm Cotecna, was getting paid through an oil-for-food contract until February 2004, not 1999 as it had previously said. Kojo Annan had stopped working for the company in 1998.
Jan. 11, 2005:
An independent probe into the program finds that UN officials failed to monitor it properly, allowing contractors to skim million of dollars. However, auditors didn't find evidence of corruption, payoffs to UN staffers or kickbacks to Saddam Hussein.
March 29, 2005:
An interim report on allegations of corruption in the oil-for-food program determines there's not enough evidence to show that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan knew of a contract bid by his son's employer. The report criticizes Annan for not doing enough to determine his son's relationship with the firm.
July 18, 2005:
The United Nations announces that Canadian businessman Maurice Strong will not be asked to return to his job as a UN envoy to North Korea because of his connection to the oil-for-food program scandal. Strong stepped down from the post in April 2005 while investigators looked into his relationship with a South Korean businessman accused in the scandal.
Aug. 7, 2005:
The former chief of the oil-for-food program resigns a day before the investigation into the program is expected to accuse him of corruption. Benon Sevan claims he is being targeted in an effort to protect the reputation of the UN and its secretary general, Kofi Annan, whom he accuses of failing to stand by him.
Aug. 8, 2005:
Investigators release a report that accuses the former chief of the oil-for-food program of receiving $147,184 in kickbacks between December 1998 and January 2002. They recommend that his immunity be lifted to allow prosecution to go ahead. The report also names two men who helped Sevan, both employees of the company to which he directed contracts.
Sept. 7, 2005:
The final report from the Independent Inquiry Committee finds instances of "illicit, unethical and corrupt" behaviour in the oil-for-food program. The inquiry concludes that sweeping reforms are urgently needed in the UN.
Annan says he accepts responsibility for the program's failures and calls the inquiry's findings "deeply embarrassing" for the UN.
Oct. 21, 2005:
The U.S. Attorney's Office charges two Swiss business executives, Catalina del Socorro Miguel Fuentes and Mohammed Saidji, and American oil tycoon Oscar Wyatt in connection with alleged kickbacks in the oil-for-food program.
"Wyatt, Miguel and Saidji obtained oil under the United Nations oil-for-food program by paying millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq," say American prosecutors.
Oct. 27, 2005:
A UN report on the oil-for-food scandal indicates that 2,200 companies paid $1.8 billion in illicit surcharges and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's government.