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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Final UN oil-for-food report due
Paul Volcker
The Volcker investigation has used 100 investigators and cost $35m
The UN's inquiry into mismanagement of its own oil-for-food programme in Iraq is due to publish its final report.

Earlier reports from the panel, headed by former US federal reserve chief Paul Volcker, focused on alleged corruption and incompetence within the UN.

This report will present its findings on the wrongdoing of companies and individuals who helped Saddam Hussein's regime illicitly profit from scheme.

The scheme was aimed at relieving the suffering of Iraqis under sanctions.

Vying for profits

The $60bn (32bn) programme, which was the UN's largest ever humanitarian operation, was supposed to allow Iraq to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies with the proceeds of regulated oil sales, without breaking the sanctions imposed on it after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

George Galloway
George Galloway denies that he was involved in the corruption

However, a CIA investigation last year found Saddam Hussein had earned $1.7bn through kickbacks and illegal surcharges on the programme.

Under the programme, Saddam Hussein's government could sell oil as long as the proceeds were used to buy humanitarian goods.

Those selected to receive vouchers for the under-priced oil could sell them at a profit and Saddam Hussein used the lucrative oil allocations to rally support against the sanctions imposed on his country.

The report is expected to disclose that more than 2,500 companies from at least 60 countries that did business with Iraq under the now-defunct programme were caught up in the web of corruption.

Names revealed

BBC business reporter Mark Gregory says that the report will name and shame companies and individuals who took part in illicit deals to get contracts.

Many of them are expected to be from Russia and the Middle East, but there will also be Western firms on the list, our correspondent says.

Earlier this week, a US Senate sub-committee said it had evidence suggesting that the British MP George Galloway had profited from oil allocations.

Mr Galloway has denied the charge and rejected claims he lied under oath to the US Senate committee which accused him of receiving oil cash from Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi oil pipeline
The scheme was supposed to ease the burden of sanctions on Iraqis

The BBC's Susannah Price at the UN says Mr Galloway is expected to be among the prominent figures discussed in this report.

The scandal emerged in early 2004, after an Iraqi newspaper published a list of about 270 people - including UN officials, politicians and companies - it alleged may have profited from the illicit sale of Iraqi oil during the programme.

The UN inquiry has no powers to prosecute or punish - it will be up to governments to deal with their own nationals once the findings are made public.

Thursday's report will the final word in what has been an inquiry on a mammoth scale - a budget of $35m paid 100 investigators to comb through mountains of evidence located in many different countries.

Previous reports by the inquiry panel reprimanded UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, other UN officials and the UN Security Council for turning a blind eye to the mismanagement of the programme.

The investigation also accused Benon Sevan, the former head of the oil-for-food programme, of taking $147,000 in illegal payments.





FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
The Boston Channel Probe: Thousands Took Part In Oil-For-Food Corruption - 37 mins ago
Miami HeraldScathing oil-for-food report draws denials - 4 hrs ago
Fresno BeeVolcker: U.N. scandal exposes corruption - 6 hrs ago
ABCNEWS.com Scathing Oil-For-Food Report Draws Denials - 7 hrs ago
Xinhua News Agency Over 2,000 firms bribed Saddam govt in Oil-for-Food program - 7 hrs ago
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