WASHINGTON – A former U.N. official who was fired after blowing the whistle on his superiors and accusing them of "flagrant mishandling" of the Oil-for-Food (search) program will be the star witness at a House International Relations Committee subcommittee hearing on Thursday.
Rehan Mullick (search) served as a research officer in the U.N. Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator (UNOHCI) based in Baghdad from 2000-2001, during the height of the alleged corruption that occurred in the Oil-for-Food program.
During his two years working in Iraq, he claimed he repeatedly warned his supervisors in Baghdad and later in New York that the United Nations (search) had no way to properly measure success of the delivery of humanitarian goods. Plus, he said that Saddam Hussein (search) was diverting the goods to other uses, including for the Iraqi military.
Mullick alleged Saddam hoarded humanitarian goods meant for his people but he also claims that wives and children of senior Baath Party (search) officials and intelligence agents got much-sought-after jobs at the United Nations and managed to get control of and manipulate the database that tracked delivery of humanitarian goods.
Mullick says he also warned senior U.N. officials that Iraqi intelligence had penetrated the UNOHCI office. He says he was repeatedly demoted until his job was finally terminated by the United Nations in 2001.
The hearing, to be held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, will be chaired by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and will begin at 1:30 p.m. EST.
The other witnesses scheduled to testify will be John Denson, general counsel to Saybolt (search) and Evelyn Suarez, an attorney with Williams & Mullen, which is representing Cotecna Inspection S.A. (search) Cotecna is the company that was charged with overseeing humanitarian contracts as part of the Oil-for-Food program. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, once worked for that company and questions as to whether he inappropriately used his ties to the United Nations to help Cotecna obtain contracts are currently being investigated.
U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told The New York Post that a blistering 10-page report that Mullick delivered to top U.N. officials in Manhattan days before he was terminated has been forwarded to the commission leading the investigation into Oil-for-Food, which is headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker (search).
"We are confident that Volcker and the committee will evaluate whether appropriate action was taken with regard to that report, and we will follow up on whatever findings the Volcker panel makes," Haq said.
Mullick's story was first reported in National Journal magazine.