Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kofi Annan Receives Some Payback

Last week Kofi Annan verbally attacked a reporter, James Bone, of The London Times when he inquired about a Mercedes Benz purchased by son, Kojo Annan. It seems the vehicle was purchased under Kofi's name to save $20,000 in diplomatic discounts and tax exemptions.
Mr. Annan's "undiplomatic" display was discussed here but not much was made of it in the MSM or on most blogs. The problem with a verbal assault on a reporter is payback based on the facts may come back to bite you. This payback has arrived in the form of commentary in the Wall Street Journal by Mr. Bone himself.
Bone reviews some cover-up details over the years by the U.N. but gets into more detail about the Mercedez incident Mr. Annan didn't wish to discuss. Here reporter Bone writes:
The Mercedes was purchased by Kojo Annan in his father's name four days before the Hotel de Crillon meeting [Nov 1998] -- and about two weeks before Cotecna won the U.N. contract [Oil-for-Food}. The use of the U.N. chief's diplomatic status qualified the car for a $6,541 discount on the purchase price and a $14,103 tax exemption when it was imported to his native Ghana. Mr. Volcker's investigators found a memo on the computer of Mr. Annan's personal assistant asking him to authorize a letter to Mercedes.
"Sir, Kojo asked me to send the attached letter re: the car he is trying to purchase under your name. The company is requesting a letter be sent from the U.N. Kojo said it could be signed by anyone from your office. May I ask Lamin to sign it?" the assistant wrote.
Neither Kofi Annan, his aide Lamin Sise, nor his assistant, Wagaye Assebe, can recall what happened, and the original documents have disappeared -- but somehow the Mercedes was purchased with the diplomatic discount anyway. Abdoulie Janneh, the U.N. official who arranged the tax exemption in Ghana was recently promoted to U.N. under-secretary-general, in charge of the Economic Commission for Africa.
Mr. Bone retorts although Mr. Annan wants him to "shut up", he clearly can't oblige. Although we can only hope this story gains more traction, historically the U.N. honchos have the ability to discount investigations and avoid prosecution. Unfortunately they feel diplomatic immunity covers corruption as well as Mercedes Benz purchases. Up to now they are correct!

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