University of Notre Dame political scientist George Lopez will testify at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 9) before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House International Relations Committee on the scope and meaning of the interim report on the U.N.s scandal-plagued oil-for-food program in Iraq.
Chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, the Independent Inquiry Committee issued its interim report last week on the program. It was critical of U.N. officials for “undermining the integrity” of the United Nations through a “grave conflict of interest.”
The $60 billion oil-for-food program, which began in December 1996 and ended in November 2003, allowed sanctions-bound Iraq to sell oil to buy humanitarian supplies. Allegations of corruption in the program first surfaced in 2000, including accusations that since-deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein siphoned more than $21 million from the program. In addition to the Volcker committee, several U.S. congressional committees are conducting investigations.
A senior fellow in Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Lopez studies the use of economics sanctions to force reduction of weapons of mass destruction. He has special expertise on Iraq.
In a presentation on the subject to the American Enterprise Institute in December, Lopez said that the United States, Great Britain and other U.N. Security Council members were “privy to the corruption within the inner circle [and] decided there must be an overriding reason to allow the operation of abuse.”