United Nations: Observations on the Oil for Food Program and Areas for Further Investigation

GAO-04-953T Published: Jul 08, 2004. Publicly Released: Jul 08, 2004.
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The Oil for Food program was established by the United Nations and Iraq in 1996 to address concerns about the humanitarian situation after international sanctions were imposed in 1990. The program allowed the Iraqi government to use the proceeds of its oil sales to pay for food, medicine, and infrastructure maintenance. The program appears to have helped the Iraqi people. From 1996 through 2001, the average daily food intake increased from 1,300 to 2,300 calories. From 1997-2002, Iraq sold more than $67 billion of oil through the program and issued $38 billion in letters of credit to purchase commodities. GAO (1) reports on our estimates of the illegal revenue acquired by the former Iraqi regime in violation of U.N. sanctions and provides some observations on the administration of the program and (2) suggests areas for additional analysis and summarizes the status of several ongoing investigations.

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