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#9050 - 19 May 06 08:05 Australian firm 'bribed Saddam'
Magpie Offline
Member**

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
An Australian wheat exporter has admitted paying money to Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions.
An inquiry into claims that the former Australian Wheat Board paid bribes for contracts released a statement in which the board apologised for its actions.

The board said it was "truly sorry" and regretted any damage it had caused.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been among officials questioned by the inquiry, which will report in June.

'Warning signs'

The draft statement was submitted to the inquiry in March but only made public on Thursday.

In it, the wheat board's former managing director Andrew Lindberg, acknowledges that money was paid to the former Iraqi regime in contravention of UN sanctions.

"Even though there were warning signs to some employees that this may have been occurring, AWB [former Australian Wheat Board] did not challenge these payments and was not alert to the potential consequences of making these payments," the statement said.

"For this we are truly sorry and deeply regret any damage this may have caused to Australia's trading reputation, the Australian government or the United Nations."

A UN report in 2005 said the board paid about $220m to Saddam Hussein's regime to secure $2.3bn in wheat contracts under the UN's oil-for-food programme.

The report said the bribes were channelled into Iraq in bogus transport fees to a Jordanian company, which was partially owned by the Iraqi government.

Repercussions

The scandal has had political repercussions, reaching the highest levels of the Australian government.

Prime Minister Howard and his foreign and trade ministers have testified before the inquiry, denying having seen more than 20 diplomatic cables warning that AWB might be paying kickbacks.

Mr Howard has told investigators: "There was absolutely no belief, anywhere in the government, at that time that AWB was anything other than a company of high reputation."

The inquiry, led by retired judge Terence Cole, can recommend the prosecution of individuals who violated Australian law, but not politicians.

The new Iraqi government has suspended trading with the AWB until the outcome of the inquiry is known.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4993376.stm
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#9051 - 19 May 06 08:37 Re: Australian firm 'bribed Saddam'
Polar Bear Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 23 Nov 05
Posts: 6177
And $220 Million will buy what – one M1 Abrahams tank? The wing off an F35 Joint Strike Fighter?

Corruption is a way of life in many countries, and it continues unabated sanctions or no sanctions. Most of the money will have gone straight into back pockets, not into weapons budgets……

Sanctions have NEVER worked, and NEVER will. They are the peacenik way of fighting a war, and like peaceniks themselves IT DOESN’T WORK.

Remember those Peaceniks who went to the Gulf War to be a “human Shield to prevent deaths? We notice they have all fucked off now, just when we need them:

“Sergeant, I think that might be a roadside bomb at the next junction. Shall I go and investigate?”

“No Private, send one of those fearless Peaceniks, they will go down and open the suspicious bag and see if it contains any Semtex”

“They are so brave Sergeant, risking and sacrificing their lives to save Iraqi civilians, police, and coalition soldiers lives”

“Yes Private, I saw they lie down in front of tanks to make a human shield in the Gulf War, and I am so pleased they stick around to save lives”.

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