Oil-for-food probe report to be released

2011-12-07 10:53

The Presidency will release the Donen commission of inquiry report into the Iraq oil-for-food programme today.

The report, which followed a probe by advocate Michael Donen SC, is expected to be posted on the presidency website later today.

In 2006, former president Thabo Mbeki established a commission of inquiry chaired by Donen, who was assisted by advocate Andrew Chauke and Senior Supt Lucy Moleka.

According to earlier statements by the Democratic Alliance, a leaked report published in the Sunday Times implicated Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale and director-general in the Minerals and Energy Department, Sandile Nogxina, in possible corruption.

Oil businessman and ANC funder Sandile Majali and his company Imvume were also reportedly implicated.

Majali was found dead in a Sandton hotel the day after Christmas last year. Sexwale, as a co-director of oil distribution and trading company Mocoh, was also implicated.

The commission’s report suggested Nogxina did not stop South African companies from paying illegal surcharges for Iraqi oil.

The payments contravened UN sanctions. Questions have been raised over reports claiming a relationship between some high-ranking ANC officials and government ministers, Majali, and the alleged Iraq “surcharge” arrangements.

The Donen commission submitted its report on South African aspects of the programme to the Presidency in June 2006.

Announcing the imminent release of the report in October, the Presidency said comments made in the report about individuals must not be treated as factual findings as they were untried, and their conduct “does not constitute any offence under South African law”.

In August 1990, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 661, which imposed sanctions on Iraq following that country’s invasion of Kuwait.

After the Gulf War in 1991, a UN humanitarian needs assessment in Iraq found that Iraqis faced epidemic and famine. It proposed that Iraq be allowed to sell limited quantities of oil.

On April 14 1995, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 986, establishing the “oil-for-food” programme.
Implementation began in December 1996. The first shipments of food arrived in March 1997.

Iraq was permitted to sell $2 billion worth of oil every six months, with two-thirds of that amount to be used to meet Iraq’s humanitarian needs.

In 1998, the export limit was raised to $5.26 billion.

In December 1999, the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports was lifted.

72% of Iraqi oil export proceeds funded the humanitarian programme. 59% of that was earmarked for the contracting of supplies and equipment by the Iraq government, implemented by the UN.

This included 25% for a compensation fund for war reparation payments, 2.2% for UN administrative and operational costs, and 0.8% for the weapons inspection programme.

As of 28 May 2003, some $28 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and equipment were delivered to Iraq under the programme, including $1.6 billion worth of oil industry spare parts and equipment. An additional $10 billion worth of supplies were in the production and delivery pipeline.

The programme was expanded by the Security Council beyond its initial emphasis on food and medicines to include infrastructure rehabilitation.

Just before the war in Iraq began on March 19 2003, the mandate of the oil-for-food programme was changed so it would have flexibility to meet new humanitarian problems presented by the prospect of war in Iraq.

The war in Iraq began with the bombing of Baghdad. On March 28 2003, the programme was adjusted, giving the secretary-general authority to facilitate the delivery and receipt of goods contracted by the government of Iraq for the humanitarian needs of its people.

On April 24 2003, those provisions were extended to June 3. The extension under resolution 1476 (2003) gave the office of the Iraq programme and UN agencies valuable time to identify and ship additional goods and supplies.

The Security Council lifted civilian sanctions on Iraq on May 22 with the adoption of resolution 1 483 (2003).
The programme was closed on November 21 2003.

At the time of its closure $31 billion in food and supplies had been delivered to Iraq. 

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