TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, 29 MARCH 2005

29 March 2005
SG/SM//9788

TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, 29 MARCH 2005

29/03/2005
Press Briefing

TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN

Secretary-General Kofi Annan:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

As you know, this morning I received Mr. Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the “oil-for-food” programme, and his fellow members of the Committee -- Justice Richard Goldstone and Professor Mark Pieth.  I received their second interim report and, of course, he has already briefed you.  I appointed the Committee a year ago to work on this investigation because I was determined to establish the full truth, without fear or favour, about the allegations of fraud and corruption in the oil-for-food programme, and the Committee members have clearly applied themselves to the task with all the thoroughness that one could have expected of them.

I was well aware that, among the most serious allegations, was the insinuation that I myself might have improperly influenced the procurement process in favour of Cotecna Inspection Services, because that company employed my son.  But I knew that to be untrue, and I was, therefore, absolutely confident that a thorough inquiry would clear me of any wrongdoing.

The Committee has now done so.  After an exhaustive 12-month investigation, the report states clearly that “there is no evidence that the selection of Cotecna in 1998 was subject to any affirmative or improper influence of the Secretary-General in the bidding or selection process”.  After so many distressing and untrue allegations have been made against me, this exoneration by the Independent Inquiry obviously comes as a great relief.

While I am gratified by that, I also note, of course, that the Committee does criticize me for not referring the matter to the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services, or its Legal Office, for a formal investigation after I became aware that Cotecna had been awarded a contract in January 1999.  I accept that criticism.  However, I have, through my attorney, provided a comment to the Committee explaining my reasons for ordering a different kind of inquiry, in the light of the information available to me at that time.  The steps I took were fully consistent with UN regulations.

The Committee also makes critical findings about three of my colleagues, or former colleagues, in the senior management of the Organization.  These findings raise different and complex issues in each case, which I need to study carefully before deciding what steps might have to be taken.

For reasons that parents everywhere will understand, the most difficult and painful moments for me personally, throughout this past year, have been those when it appeared that my son, Kojo, might have acted inappropriately, or might not have told me the full truth about his actions.  The Inquiry has now rendered its judgement on those issues.  I love my son, and I have always expected the highest standards of integrity from him.  I am deeply saddened by the evidence to the contrary that has emerged, and particularly by the fact that my son had failed to cooperate fully with the Inquiry.  I had urged him to cooperate and I urge him to reconsider his position and cooperate.

In his press conference today, Mr. Volcker kindly referred to the proposals that I made last week in my report “In Larger Freedom”, and expressed the hope that his committee’s findings would contribute to the large objective of United Nations reform.  I think that hope is fully justified.  The reforms I am proposing, particularly the improvements in the management of the Secretariat, are intended, among other things, to correct the failings that the Inquiry has brought to light.  While I await with great interest the Inquiry’s final report later this year, I am already acting, and will continue to act, on its interim findings.  The Member States of the United Nations, and their peoples, certainly have a right to expect that, from now on, we in the Secretariat will be more fully transparent in the way we carry out their mandates and their wishes, and that managers will be held clearly accountable for their performance.

Finally, I want to thank the whole staff of the United Nations for remaining so admirably focused on their work during this past year, a very difficult year.  It has been difficult for all of us.  But despite the distractions, we have been able to make very significant contributions to the successful and historic elections held in Afghanistan, Iraq, Burundi and in the Palestinian territories.  And, of course, we also coordinated the tsunami crisis.  We have been leading the world’s response in that tragedy, the Indian Ocean tsunami crisis, and today again with the earthquake that we witnessed yesterday -- we have been active on the ground and luckily we have assets in place to be able to assist.  And sadly we are now having, as I said, to help relieve yet more suffering caused by the earthquake that struck Indonesia.  We are also helping to advance the peace process in the Middle East.  And in many other parts of the world, often away from the headlines, the hidden crises -- UN staff are working around the clock to help their fellow human beings.  There is always much more to do, and we will stay focussed.

Thank you very much.  I will now take your questions.

Question:  Mr. Secretary-General, on behalf of the UN Correspondents’ Association, welcome.  The question concerns your son.  You said you had spoken to him.  When did you speak to him, what did you tell him and what has he told you? Does he plan to continue his -- come back and cooperate with the committee?

The Secretary-General:  I think I have said to you what I have told him.  And I am urging him to cooperate; I have always urged him to cooperate.  I have urged him to cooperate.  I think, from the indications I have, I hope -- I have asked him to reconsider, and I hope he is reconsidering.

Question: What did he tell you?

The Secretary-General:  He is reconsi-.  I have asked him to reconsider.  He couldn’t -- he didn’t give me an answer immediately by the phone, on the phone.

Question:  Mr. Secretary-General, you took the decision in October of last year to fund the investigation led by Mr. Paul Volcker from Iraqi money in the “2.2 account”.  Can you tell us, will you be reconsidering your position on this?  And on which basis have you actually decided to earmark certain funds belonging to this account for purposes unrelated to the management of oil-for-food -- namely, the compensation of the Iraqi victims of the UN bombing in Baghdad of 2003?

The Secretary-General:  Let me say that, on your first question, the 2.2 account was meant exactly to cover administrative costs related to the oil-for-food programme.  It was not ... it was set aside for that specific purpose.  And this is auditing of that account and that process.  And I think it is legitimate that it should be paid from that account.

As to those who were killed or injured in Iraq, from what I know, quite a few of them were working for the oil-for-food programme.  Some were working for the UN; I don’t think everybody got paid out of that account.  I don’t have the details, but those who were working on that programme, it was legitimate that the charge be billed to that.

Question: Are you the man to continue to lead this Organization?  Critics, not just in Washington but in this very building -- some on your own staff -- point to Benon Sevan, the man who ran the oil-for-food programme; Dilip Nair, mentioned in the report; Ruud Lubbers, sex harassment; Congo:  sex, peacekeeping, you were the former peacekeeping director; your former Chief of Staff shredding documents; plus the decision by senior management on sending people back into Iraq.  Do you feel it’s time, for the good of the Organization, to step down?

The Secretary-General:  Hell, no.  But let me say that, on the issues you have raised, I think that I have indicated that we are going to look into some of the complex issues which have been raised.  But I think it is also unfortunate that you keep bringing back issues which have been resolved.  The Lubbers issue was resolved.  A thorough investigation was made.  He went through due process, and he was not found guilty.  But you keep bringing his name up each time we deal with these issues.  I don’t think it’s fair to him, nor to UNHCR, nor to the system.  That issue is settled.  Please leave Lubbers alone.

On the other issues you raised, from the sexual exploitation in Congo and others, we are looking into it very energetically. We are setting up systems to ensure that this doesn’t happen, not only not in Congo, but in any of our operations around the world. And it is not unusual that institutions this size, whether it’s government in this country or elsewhere or companies, that problems do arise. You deal with the problem and draw the lessons and move on. I have lots of work to do, and I’m going to go ahead and do it. And I think you know the agenda ahead of me.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

[The Secretary-General then left the room and his Chief of Staff, Mark Malloch Brown took over.]

Question:  The question was really for the Secretary-General.  The findings of Mr. Volcker notwithstanding, he repeatedly today said there was not sufficient evidence.  There’s a lot of scepticism over the findings now of what Volcker put out today.  There’s a context of secret payments, meetings, stunted internal investigation.  How would the UN -- since you speak for the UN now -- publicly, declaratively and definitively say that the Secretary-General was not involved in what he was alleged to be involved with in a manner beyond simply saying that the Volcker Committee has cleared him?

Mr. Malloch Brown: Well, look, as Mr. Volcker said, he has run an exhaustive investigation and has found no evidence and has concluded that there was no interference by the Secretary-General in the award of the Cotecna contract.  I think the onus is now on those of you who wish to continue to pursue this to -- I mean, the burden of proof has shifted.  Mr. Volcker has given his view, and it is a very clear one.  As he has throughout said, it’s always a little hard to prove a negative.  But you don’t get much clearer than no evidence.  And I think the Secretary-General, in his somewhat impatient response to Richard, although no doubt a very usable response, was saying, “Come on, enough, this has been going on for months, we’ve responded to all the inquiries.  Time to move on; there’s a lot to get done.”

Question: The fact that you say there’s no evidence -- it was reported today in a newspaper that evidence, some documents, I should say, were shredded.  When Volcker addressed the issue of past meetings with Cotecna, he said no minutes exist, or no reporting on those meetings besides something about a lottery to raise money for the UN.  That’s your “no evidence”.  How would you address the fact that evidence might–

Mr. Malloch Brown: You know, it’s not no evidence.  It’s that there was extensive questioning of everybody involved in those meetings, everybody who’d set them up, and then, like any meeting, you’re ultimately dependent on the word of the people who are in the room.  It is confirmation of what we’ve always said about that meeting since it was raised last week that it was of a fairly inconsequential kind, that there was no note-taker.  It was not an official meeting dealing with official issues.  Again, the point is, surely Volcker looked, he looked under every stone, he threw millions of dollars of investigation at this, and concluded, no story.

Question: I’m going to ask a question, but, since you’re not the Secretary-General, it’s a little bit, maybe hard for you to answer.  I would just like to register, I think, the feeling in the room that we really wish the Secretary-General would be here answering the questions about what he knew and when he knew it, because, unless you’re inside his brain, which, conceivably you could be, it’s not that helpful to us.  But I will try anyway.

It appears that Cotecna hired Kojo because of Kofi Annan’s personal relationship with Michael Wilson, and Elie Georges Massey said that he hired him because of Kojo’s personal connections.  Cotecna executives had sought UN contracts before and after Kojo was hired and were cultivating a relationship with the Secretary-General.  It is clear that Cotecna was trying to leverage this relationship to get to the Secretary-General and ultimately benefit their business.  Whether or not the Secretary-General allowed himself to be used might have been addressed today partially satisfactorily.  But why was there not more concern about the appearance of conflict of interest?  How could he not know that this was the intention?

Mr. Malloch Brown: Let me just first say why I’m standing here and not the Secretary-General, and I’m sure Fred had explained this.  But it’s not because I can say what the Secretary-General would say standing here.  It is because the report, in addition to raising questions about his conduct, raises broader questions about the institution and, therefore, it was felt he should come and make a statement and take some questions on his conduct, and I would then stay behind to respond to broader institutional questions, because you’re right; I can’t speak for him on this.

But let me say the reason why he didn’t stay here and take endless questions, other than needing to get upstairs and get to work, is that he exposed himself to many hours of cross-examination by the investigators of the Volcker Committee.  He was interviewed and re-interviewed and re-interviewed again on precisely these points, and so he does not think it necessary to re-subject himself to a further trial in room 226.

Some of the best investigative minds in America and from around the world have been at this for 12 months.  This is their conclusion, and I very much doubt that you will do any better than them with the information that was in their report.  It speaks for itself.  They have given a very full accounting of each of these meetings and sought to parse from it what actually happened between the counterclaims of different participants to events.  And their conclusion is, whatever Cotecna’s aspirations in terms of developing a relationship with the Secretary-General, it was a dud.  They didn’t!  And there was no influence over that contract.  And his feeling is, you know, he’s put himself through this, no other organization has put itself through this, or no other leader of an organization has put himself through this kind of cross-examination.

But it’s done.  It’s past.  The verdict is delivered, and he does not mean to re-debate it with you all time after time, whenever he has a press conference.  He’s declared himself satisfied by the clearance he got; time to move on.

Question: Mark, as you know the journalist maxim that it’s the cover-up that always gets you, we discovered today for the first time that the day after the Security Council approved the investigation, the Secretary-General’s Chief of Staff started shredding documents from the relevant years, 1997 to 1999, precisely those years when Kofi Annan’s son was involved with Cotecna.  Why is the Secretary-General not taking personal responsibility for his own Chief of Staff destroying documents in his own office that are relevant to an investigation?

Mr. Malloch Brown:  As I think you heard him say, this is an issue we have to look very carefully into, because it is clearly deeply damaging to any investigation to have documents destroyed, particularly after an instruction has gone out to preserve documents.  But, as the report says, there appears -- and the report appears to side with this -- that there is a very reasonable explanation for this.

Question:  The report [inaudible] persuasive; it actually finds that it’s not a reasonable explanation.

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Okay.  Well, let me say to you then that I think we consider it a very plausible explanation that a chron file -- which is not an original file, but a duplicate of other existing documents -- that indeed for space reasons, the secretaries of Mr. Riza had sought his permission to destroy it to make space for new chron-file issues.  But we went through the following years, and, indeed, we’ve checked with UN archives, and it is formal archive policy that chron files can be destroyed each year.

So there was no breach of UN rules, but you’re absolutely right.  And I think the Secretary-General would agree with the -- I think the word of the panel was that it was “imprudent” to have done this, and clearly not consistent with the Secretary-General’s own memo on this.  So, we have to look further into it.

Question:  One of the findings -- the second finding -- by Mr. Volcker was that there were questions raised about when the Secretary-General actually might have known about the contract.  Yes, it said he didn’t influence it, but it said that there was insufficient evidence on that.  And that was an issue that the Secretary-General did not address either in his statement or before.

And, since you’re taking every question, I thought I was going to ask you an institutional question that Mr. Volcker raised at his press conference.  He had a quote that said this institution is in the process of being scrubbed very hard; this is a very aggressive investigation, the United Nations has had a problem of credibility in its administrative arrangements, and he hoped that this investigation would be in the interest of the institution.  I wonder if you could comment on that.

Mr. Malloch Brown:  I certainly can.  Let me just say that the Secretary-General made it clear again today that both the advice in this report on better management and very much the advice that came out of the last report on this are going to be taken very seriously.  And, frankly, we had a brief discussion with Mr. Volcker this morning about our impatience to get their conclusions on management, which will be in the report coming this summer.  Because we are now actively in the process of looking at management changes to make sure that conflict-of-interest rules are as tight as they should be, there is sufficient transparency in the procurement process to ensure that there can be no undue influence, et cetera, et cetera.

So the Volcker findings on all of this are enormously important for the changes under way in the Organization.  And, just as we read the last one carefully and took every management recommendation out of it and have put it into the change-planning going on in the Organization, we will do the same with this one, and particularly do it with the one next summer.

Question:  You didn’t answer my first question.

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Okay.  I thought you had decided that you didn’t really want me to.  Let me tell you that, while one of the problems is recalling events seven, eight years ago, the Secretary-General knows that when he was called by his Chief of Staff on, I think it was 21 January, to be told that the Sunday Telegraph was planning an article saying that Cotecna had won this contract and that his son worked for Cotecna, he expressed -- his reaction was surprise and amazement.  He knew very well that his son worked for the firm, but he had no idea they had been awarded this oil-for-food contract.  So his own recollection is very, very clear that any suggestion that prior to that he had known of Cotecna’s bid -- let alone that Cotecna had reached him to try and influence it -- is absolutely, 100 per cent wrong.  It didn’t happen.

Question:  Since you keep raising the “he’s-no-crook” defence, let me ask you about management.  By now, the guy that he handpicked to run oil-for-food was found totally discredited; his Chief of Staff was cited in this latest report for doing something that the report finds not credible -- his explanation is not credible; the head of OIOS was found to be lacking in his investigation of oil-for-food; his son was found to be lacking; and his relatives were found to be lacking.  Is the circle closing, and is it time -- is Mr. Annan, indeed, as Richard asked, the man to lead this huge undertaking of reform at the UN?

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Let’s first agree:  I’ll answer the question “Is the circle closing?” if you’ll answer the question “Has the ground moved?”  Are you giving up on what I would characterize as the “he’s-innocent-so-lay-off” defence?  He’s not a crook.

Question:  That’s what Richard Nixon said, too.

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Well, that’s why I’m saying -- in other words, let’s first agree that the story has probably moved decisively on today, from probably a final slaying of the ghosts on “there was corruption in this by the Secretary-General” to a second issue, which is, was the management effective enough?  And on that, he’s the first to acknowledge it evidently wasn’t.  A number of individuals have now been cited in ways which are enormously damaging to the Organization and to all of us who work for it.

But hence, again, the important bit of Volcker, which is the forward-looking bit of Volcker, which is, having disposed of any charges of criminality and corruption against the system as a whole and against the Secretary-General, but having pinpointed failings by others, how do we, moving forward, put in place the management reforms that address that?  And I would argue, the kind of things we’re doing on more open, high-quality selection of senior staff, the reform of procurement and audit, the strengthening of OIOS going forward -- all of these issues are a very serious response to the issues raised and show that the Secretary-General takes this very seriously.

Question:  That he was found lacking in all those issues are in these reports.

Question:  Just about an hour ago, Richard Goldstone -- who is, I think, of some importance in the Committee -- told me that this was not, in fact, an investigation into Kofi Annan and Kojo; this in response to my question of why the timing, why the special treatment for the Secretary-General, that before the final report, this is discussed.  I was told, no, this is actually the end of the part of the investigation focusing on procurement.

Now, as we all know, it was a far larger programme, involving vast amounts, to all appearances, of corruption, and there are connections with other figures who are close to the Secretary-General, not just Kojo, of which I think perhaps some people in this room are aware.  So I am wondering why, at this point, either the Secretary-General or you or anyone connected with the UN would think it is reasonable to say all investigation into Kofi Annan is finished.  The understanding the Committee is giving out is that the procurement aspect is done.  This was an enormous programme with many more.  I wonder if you could speak to that.

Mr. Malloch Brown:  There are, I think, two points.  Just to be clear:  when the Volcker Committee was set up, the Secretary-General’s plea to them was take on the issue of myself, Kojo, Benon Sevan as quickly as possible; it is really disrupting our effective leadership of this institution that these allegations against myself and others are out there.  So it had always been the original intention of Volcker to deal with the issue of Kojo and his father in the first report -- the one in February.  It proved too complicated; there was just too much out there which had to be tracked down and pursued and gotten to the bottom of before the report could come.  So they split off part of that first report and took it second.  But the allegations referring to the Secretary-General have, indeed, been within that frame of procurement.

Now, you’re quite right that, while what has been cleared so far is the overall management of the 2.2 account with the one or two very specific, narrow exceptions, and now individuals have been assigned individual blame or exoneration for their part in this.

In June, there will be the overall programme, which will look at implementation on the ground in Iraq and draw broader parallels to that issue -- which sort of just falls outside your vision on this -- which is the issue of oil smuggling; the much larger sums which accrued to Saddam Hussein because of reasons which had nothing to do with oil-for-food.  So, it’ll give the total picture, and I’m sure it’ll embarrass many people.  But I don’t think it’ll be -- particularly embarrass the Secretary-General.

Question:  It was the Secretary-General who urged the inclusion of oil-for-food in February of 1998 of oil parts.  Without that, the smuggling could not have taken place.  The argument that keeps being put forward -- that he implies he didn’t know and had no part in it -- doesn’t wash if you look at the record.  Why is this–

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Without oil parts, there would have been no oil.  Without oil, there would have been no income.  Without income, there would have been no food.

Question:  If this-  If the United Nations was a ship, Kofi Annan would be the captain.  And all these events took place during his watch.  I mean, I want to really refer to Benny and to Richard Roth’s questions.  How much responsibility does he take for all these mishaps:  the severe conflict of interest of Benon Sevan that has been found; the ill-dealings of his son; the investigation, which wasn’t a real investigation, after the ’99 exposure of the companies dealing with the Pakistanis?  A lot of things have been happening.  How much responsibility does Kofi Annan take for these mishaps?  Can we hold him accountable for these things that happened on his watch?

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Let me just, on -- taking that last point first -- but I think it does show the understandable reluctance of you all to look at any glass as half full.  Yes, there were shortcomings in the ’99 investigation, and the reason for that -- and it was an acknowledgement of that which led to the Volcker inquiry.  You know, it went from famine to feast:  from, you know, an inadequate inquiry, which he acknowledges did not, with hindsight, meet the needs -- although, as we point out, at the time, both the head of OIOS and the General Counsel were consulted it seems -- and, you know, there’s mixed views of what exactly they said.  But there seemed to be a general view amongst the relevant senior managers that Mr. Connors’ investigation was sufficient.  With hindsight, it clearly wasn’t.  And the activities of Claudia and others in this room made it clear that there needed to be a further investigation.  And, hence, Volcker.

There’s no greater act of taking accountability than to set up this kind of cross-examination of what you did.  And to then expect just a little moment of celebratory pause and joy from -- when you’re exonerated:  exonerated of any wrongdoing.  But equally, that does not excuse you from addressing the shortcomings of management.  Some of those are indeed of his and his own senior management team making.  You’ve mentioned some this afternoon.  Others go much wider, to the intergovernmental structure of this Organization and the way it hamstrings a Secretary-General from, you know, effectively making the kind of management -- kind of clear, strategic management of the Organization that’s needed.

I mean, Mr. Volcker has observed that, you know, the UN is caught in this perverse Catch-22.  We keep on having huge missions thrown at us, and then the world presses us to get on and do it.  But, in between, they will not resource us with the basic infrastructure to take on these huge tasks.  Oil-for-food, peacekeeping -- demonstrates the same point.  You know, we do peacekeeping on the cheap.  We tried to do oil-for-food on the cheap.  The resources, in terms of the permanent standing capacity of the UN to take on these issues, is rarely there.  And so, we take on the programmes; there are problems; that leads to criticism; that leads to even more scepticism at the level of governments in terms of equipping us with the means to handle these programmes effectively in the future.  And I hope one of the lessons drawn out of this is not more micromanagement of the UN or putting us on an even tighter financial leash, but a real understanding of the tasks we’re being given and a proper resourcing of the Organization, and a proper delegation of authority to the Secretary-General to carry out those tasks.

Question:  (Inaudible) ... that you don’t have the capacity to do.  Anyway, this seems to be a Blix-esque report in that everybody can claim their position is vindicated by it.  I just wanted to focus on -- ask two things:  One, do you intend to pursue disciplinary procedures against Mr. Nair for what was in here, and also, more generally, what is the status of Mr. Nair following all the staff complaints?

Then, another question, just focusing on the meetings with Elie Massey:  The Secretary-General, when first interviewed, said he had not met Elie Massey prior to the award of Cotecna of the inspection contract.  The investigators then discovered evidence to the contrary on computers, including a note saying that it was Kojo who arranged the appointment with Elie Massey and the Secretary-General.  So, two questions:  One, why did he deny this and later retract his denial?  And, number two, does he accept that this report shows that he allowed Kojo to influence his meetings in the middle of a very busy General Assembly period?  Thank you.

Mr. Malloch Brown: Well, look.  Let me take those -- well, let me take that last question.  The -- you know, on that, when the Secretary-General was first interviewed by the Volcker panel, he was given no prior warning of what subjects were going to be discussed and, therefore, had no papers with him, no opportunity to, you know, remember, and was asked about meetings of 15 minutes’ or so duration which had happened seven or eight years earlier.  And it is correct:  he could not initially recall them.  When he came back for a second meeting, now having had an opportunity to examine it, he reported to the panel that indeed these meetings had taken place.  And if you read the panel carefully, they acknowledge that, while they had in the meantime themselves identified that these meetings had happened from the hard-drive disk, it was the Secretary-General who came in with his counsel and volunteered these meetings -- because he’d had a chance to go back and check the record.

As to the point about Kojo:  you know, he was not at the meeting.  I think, you know, any son can reasonably command 15 minutes of their dad’s time.

Question: I have two questions.

Question: (Inaudible).

Mr. Malloch Brown:  (Inaudible)  Oh, I’m so sorry; I didn’t mean (inaudible).  I think your question was, you know, will there need to be disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Nair.  The answer is, “inevitably”.

Question:  I have two questions, Mark.  Mr. Volcker hinted at the end of his press conference that Kojo Annan might be involved in other aspects of the oil-for-food programme.  Does the Secretary-General know any other alleged wrongdoing by his son?  First.

The second question is:  When was the Secretary-General aware that Mr. Riza was shredding documents?  How did he know about it?  What was it he responded to when he was...?

And thirdly, just to build a little bit on Maggie’s point, can you ask the Secretary-General to reconsider and come to us?  I mean, the report is full of loopholes and things that he’s the only person who can answer.

Mr. Malloch Brown: Okay.  Look, obviously you will continue to have regular contact with him.  But, you know, I really could not advise him to have trial by room 226.  This is -- you say it’s full of loopholes.  I think a fair-minded reading of it is that it gives a full, non-censored exposé of everything that’s happened so that you can all read it.  But then, a judge, an expert on financial laundering and a former head of the Fed, you know, collectively apply themselves to draw conclusions from it.  And I think these conclusions stand.  And I want to be very clear about that.

On your point about the -- your second question -- the issue of when the Secretary-General knew about the shredding of papers:  he knew only December of this year, when, after a session that Mr. Riza had with the panel, in which they asked for documents, and when Mr. Riza initially thought the easiest way to find them was, I believe, was from the “chron”, found that the chron had been destroyed.  So, he told the Secretary-General at that time, at the same time that he told the panel.  But until this time, Mr. Riza and, indeed, Mr. Riza’s secretaries, had viewed this as such a routine activity that there is absolutely no circumstance under which they would have told the Secretary-General that they were routinely cleansing the chron files.  So, he had no knowledge of it until December.  But we are all very disquieted by it.

Question:  Was that a factor in Mr. Riza’s departure?

Mr. Malloch Brown:  It was not.  And you will see a very clear footnote in the report to that effect:  that they interviewed me, Mr. Riza, the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, to understand the chronology of his departure, which had been planned well before this discovery.

Sorry.  The first one was...?

Question:  The first one was, Volcker hinted at Kojo’s probably being...

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Mr. Volcker makes it very clear that Kojo has not, you know, been forthcoming with his father and had not let him know of the payments he had received.  So, I think it’s reasonable to assume that he has not disclosed to his father other activities.  But this is one where, you know, I really cannot answer beyond that on behalf of a father.  It’s very much...

Question:  Mr. Brown, is it true that (inaudible) and took away the hard drives (inaudible)?  Is it possible to retrieve data from those files that they have taken?

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Generally, access to hard drives and taken hard drives from various places around the Organization to just satisfy themselves that the paper files have everything in them.  And we have fully cooperated on that, as everything else.  Remember, we have given -- as Mr. Volcker confirmed this morning -- 101 per cent cooperation to this inquiry.  There has been no attempt to hide anything.

Thank you.

Question:  One quick follow-up.  Were the chron files (inaudible) anywhere else, because you keep saying that they’re copies.  Were the originals ever found?  Is it with the Volcker panel?

Mr. Malloch Brown:  Well, that was what they checked on the hard disks (inaudible)...

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For information media. Not an official record.