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The Oil-for-Food Scandal at UN: Questions of Governance Issues


Code : GOV0017

Year :

Industry : Business Law, Governance and Ethics

Region : Iraq

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment : Not Available

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Introduction: TheOil-for-Food programme, the largest humanitarian programme in the UN history,4 was set up by the UN Security Council to provide humanitarian goods such as food andmedicines to the Iraqi people in exchange for oil. The programme came as a reliefmeasure for Iraqi citizens who had been suffering due to the heavy sanctions imposed by the UN on Iraq after the 1991GulfWar. The programme, started in 1996, ran for seven years until itwas interrupted by the war on Iraq by the coalition forces in 2003. By the end of the programme, Iraq had exported $65 billionworth of oil within the programme’s framework.With the fulfilment of the essential foods andmedicine requirements, the programmewas considered a success. However, in course of time, it became evident that the programmewas accompanied by various illegal activities during the export of oil and import of humanitarian goods. Itwas alleged that the then Iraqi President SaddamHussein received billions of dollars as kickbacks and through oil smuggling.Many of the UN officials are also alleged to be involved in the scandal. Since the programme was managed and run under the United Nations, the mismanagement and corruption raised serious questions regarding governance issues at the UN and its credibility is under threat. The UN Secretary- General appointed an Independent InquiryCommittee in April 2004, to investigate into the allegedmisdeeds in theOil-for- Food programme that ‘gave hope tomillions of Iraqi people’.

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