Henry J. Hyde United Nations Reform Act of 2005

Date: June 17, 2005
Location: Washington, DC

HENRY J. HYDE UNITED NATIONS REFORM ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - June 17, 2005)



Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.


Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise with this amendment today that would prohibit any employee of a United Nations entity, bureau, division, department, or specialized agency from having any unauthorized contact, particularly business contact, with a government that is subject to United Nations sanctions.

The purpose and ideals of the United Nations are to maintain international peace and security and to engage in collective action to preserve both.

It also is to promote friendly relations among nations founded upon the principles of human rights and self-determination.

Finally, it is to achieve multilateral cooperation on the critical global crises of our age.

I support these goals and ideals, but these purposes are being undermined and threatened by corruption and mismanagement within the U.N. today. That is why I am here today in support of this overall legislation and offering this particular amendment.

One of the most blatant examples of fraud, corruption, and abuse in the United Nations is that of the United Nations employees enriching themselves through personal deals with rogue governments.

In 1991, the United Nations placed sanctions on Iraq for Saddam Hussein's persistent noncompliance with the provisions of the cease-fire that ended the first Gulf War.

In an effort to mitigate the sanctions impact on the Iraqi population, the Oil-for-Food program was created in 1996 to allow the Iraqis to sell oil in order to pay for humanitarian goods. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the oil was to be sold with the proceeds to be deposited with the Banque National de Paris. Humanitarian goods were then to be supplied to Iraq using those funds.

However, Saddam Hussein was allowed to choose his own business partners for this program, those buyers for Iraq's oil, as well as the suppliers of humanitarian goods.

For each 180-day phase of the program, Iraq developed a list of allocations identifying companies and individuals to whom it would be willing to sell oil. Saddam personally reviewed who would receive the oil.

Mr. Hussein would then complete oil contracts based on the allocations list. As this process evolved, Saddam began to give special allocations for the benefit of particular individuals or entities that were perceived to support his brutal regime.

It is abominable for U.S. taxpayers' funds to be used to pay U.N. employees who take advantage of international sanctions and make deals to receive kickbacks.

That is exactly what happened with the U.N. Oil-for-Food program.

While visiting Iraq in the course of his official duties, director of the Oil-for-Food program, Mr. Benon Sevan, requested special allocations from the Iraq oil ministry for African Middle East Petroleum Company to help a friend. That friend turned out to be former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Gali's nephew.

It was later found by the Independent Inquiry Committee into the U.N. Oil-for-Food program that what Mr. Sevan sought was more than just for his friend.

Mr. Sevan was in a position of influence and could lift restrictions on various parts of the Oil-for-Food program.

So the Saddam Hussein regime granted the oil allocations to AMEP and Mr. Sevan. AMEP purchased the oil from Iraq, but then sold it to oil companies for as much as $750,000 per transaction more than what they paid for it, all while giving the proceeds to Mr. Sevan for making the deal. Additional oil allocations granted through the years of the program as restrictions were lifted on aspects of the Oil-for-Food program.

When the program came under scrutiny, Mr. Sevan blocked the proposed audit of his office.

Because of these personal deals, Saddam was able to skirt around the restrictions of sanctions, siphoning off as much as $10 billion in the form of illicit revenue while the Iraqi people starved.

Saddam Hussein used much of this money to purchase weapons, many of which are being used to kill Americans and Iraqis today as the Allied forces continue to fight terrorism in that country.

Actions such as Mr. Sevan's personal dealings with the sanctioned Iraqi Government undermine the United Nations' purposes.

I ask that my colleagues support this amendment that makes clear to the United Nations that the United States will not tolerate U.N. employees making deals with rogue governments subject to U.N. sanctions.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time to wrap up my comments by saying that we all know what corruption looks like, smells like, and acts like. We are seeing corruption at many different levels in the U.N., and I would request that all Members support this amendment, which would limit the unauthorized contact between the United Nation employees and the nations which have been sanctioned.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.