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UN scandal report involves Annan's son -

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UN scandal report involves Annan's son

Reporter:

TONY JONES: The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is fighting off calls for his
resignation sparked by the interim report of a corruption inquiry. The inquiry cleared Mr Annan of
any wrongdoing in the awarding of UN contracts, but criticised his handling of the scandal that
followed. Opponents of the UN chief say his position is now untenable. North America correspondent
Mark Simkin reports.

MARK SIMKIN: Kofi Annan has been cleared of corruption, but his competence is still being
questioned. So will the Secretary-General resign?

KOFI ANNAN, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: Hell, no.

MARK SIMKIN: In the 1990s, the UN awarded a lucrative contract in Iraq to a company that was paying
Kofi Annan's son hundreds of thousands of dollars. The inquiry couldn't find any evidence Kofi
Annan rigged the bidding, but it did criticise the way he handled the scandal.

PAUL VOLCKER, INQUIRY CHAIRMAN: Given the nature and importance of the issues presented, the UN
inquiry initiated by the Secretary-General, was inadequate.

KOFI ANNAN: I love my son and 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.

MARK SIMKIN: Mr Annan's son says he's sorry for the embarrassment he's caused, but that's unlikely
to reduce the pressure on the Secretary-General. Equally embarrassing - revelations Kofi Annan's
office shredded relevant documents before the Volcker enquiry began.

PAUL VOLCKER: The UN has had a problem of credibility in its administrative arrangements. I think
that is quite clear. It's not entirely a new allegation. I think it is in the interests of the
institution that they get a pretty hard scrubbing and they reach some conclusions and help lay the
basis for appropriate reform.

MARK SIMKIN: Kofi Annan has powerful enemies in Congress, in part because of his opposition to the
invasion of Iraq. The Secretary-General can't be sacked, but some reports suggest he's depressed
and considering his future.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: We continue to support the United Nations. We continue to
support Secretary-General Annan in his work at the United Nations. We will carefully study the
report that Mr Volcker put forward today.

MARK SIMKIN: The inquiry's final report is due mid-year. Mark Simkin, Lateline.