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Ex-Annan aide escapes censure

April 28, 2005 at 1:59 PM

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 (UPI) -- A former top aide to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has escaped punishment despite being chastised by the committee investigating the oil-for-food scandal.

U.N. associate spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday Annan had cleared his former chief-of-staff, Iqbal Riza, of violating U.N. rules, despite criticism Riza had shredded documents that may have contained information about the U.N. oil-for-food program for Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

In its preliminary findings in March, the committee investigating the oil-for-food scandal, which is headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, criticized Riza for his role. But the United Nations stood by him.

"After reviewing the findings of the latest Volcker report and after consulting the office of legal affairs, as well as the office of human resources, the secretary-general has found that there are no grounds for disciplinary action against Mr. Riza," Dujarric said.

Dujarric said Annan had written to Riza of his decision, saying the secretary-general accepted an apology for his actions.

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