U.N. oil-for-food panel set for inquiry

June 15, 2004 at 4:50 PM

UNITED NATIONS, June 15 (UPI) -- The independent panel investigating allegations of fraud and corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program Tuesday said it's ready for business.

The inquiry is headed up by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

"Preliminary investigation is under way in priority areas," the Independent Inquiry Committee said in a news release. "These concern the allegations of corruption and mal-administration within the United Nations, its relationships with certain contractors and the performance of the contractors themselves."

A Memorandum of Understanding was reached with the Iraqi Bureau of Supreme Audit and the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, the committee said. The international accounting firm of Ernst & Young was hired to identify and organize important Iraqi records with respect to the Oil-for-Food Program, the panel said.

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