Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Fix comes in

As The Australian report I noted yesterday predicted, Kofi Annan is assessed no direct responsibility for the connection between his son's employer obtaining Oil-for-Food contracts and Annan's status as Secretary-General of the UN.

As the AP story noted above states: "Kojo Annan worked for Cotecna [S.A.] in West Africa from 1995 to December 1997 and then as a consultant until the end of 1998 — just when it won the oil-for-food contract. He remained on the Cotecna payroll until 2004 on a contract to prevent him from working for a competitor in Nigeria or Ghana, but that was only disclosed in November."

Considering that Oil-for-Food was run directly out of the Secretary General's office through program administrator Benon Sevan, there is no reasonable explanation for this conclusion by the Volcker investigation: "[i]nvestigators also said 'the evidence is not reasonably sufficient' that Annan knew about Cotecna's bid in 1998." This is garbage.

The quote above seems to mean the investigators required ACTUAL knowledge to show Annan's misconduct, not "constructive" knowledge. Constructive knowledge is what a reasonable person should have known in the same circumstances based on the information available to him. For example, if you buy a home without investigating the deed history and that history indicates the seller does not rightfully own the home you are buying, you have knowledge of the problem constructively even though you screwed up and didn't investigate the deed history. Kofi Annan has constructive knowledge of everything that runs through his office, including Oil-for-Food.

Draw your own conclusion.

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