Hidden payments to Kojo


In a joint investigation, the Financial Times of the UK and Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian business daily, have a scoop on hidden payments to Kofi Annan's son Kojo.

Kojo Annan, son of Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary—general, received at least $300,000 from Cotecna, a Swiss inspection company awarded a contract ultimately worth about $60m under the Iraqi oil—for—food contract 

The amount was almost double the sum previously disclosed, but payments were arranged in ways that obscured where the money came from or whom it went to.

The discovery, in a joint investigation by Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian business daily, and the Financial Times, comes as the independent UN inquiry led by Paul Volcker into possible abuses within the oil—for—food programme prepares to publish a new report on this matter.

Its findings, expected next Tuesday, will address allegations that Kojo's family connections may have helped Cotecna obtain the UN contract.

Kojo Annan worked for Cotecna in Nigeria until December 1997. He was later retained first as a consultant and then on an unusual 'non—compete' contract. Cotecna categorically denies any impropriety.

Ed Lasky  3 23 05