26 August 2009 The fund administering proceeds from export sales of petroleum from Iraq has received an influx of nearly $180 billion through the end of last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, acknowledging that an Iraqi-run committee is ready to assume responsibility for the scheme.
Oil exports account for just over $165 million of the Development Fund for Iraq, which was established in 2003, the same year the Security Council phased out the oil-for-food programme, under which a sanctions-bound Iraq was allowed to use monitored oil sales revenue for humanitarian purchases.
The balance of the oil-for-food funds held under escrow by the UN deposited into the Fund amounted to $10 billion, with a further $1.5 billion deposited as proceeds from frozen assets, according to a report by Mr. Ban to the Council that was made public today.
The International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), an independent body set up by the Council, has found that the Committee of Financial Experts, set up by Iraq’s Council of Ministers in 2006, is ready to assume oversight responsibilities of the Fund.
“It will be important to ensure that a proper succession mechanism and process be considered,” the Secretary-General wrote in his report.
A recent independent audit of the Fund highlighted areas of concern, including “weaknesses in controls over oil extraction and use of the resources,” he noted.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue