Norway chaired the UN Committee on Sanctions Against Iraq for 2001-2002, a critical period for the oil-for-food programme, which has been scrutinised in the Volcker Report. The report has no particular criticism of Norway’s role in the UN committee.
The oil-for-food investigation in Iraq has revealed widespread corruption. Millions of dollars have been paid in kickbacks related to Nordic firms’ contracts. The report from the UN investigation goes into detail about kickbacks related to contracts signed by companies like Bukkehave, Atlas Copco and Volvo.
An internal Foreign Ministry review likens the Danish Private Sector Development (PSD) programme to a “McDonald’s" concept, which applies the same conditions in all countries irrespective of local conditions. This approach has remained basically unchanged since 1996 in spite of assessments and a critical evaluation of the programme.
Danish participation in the US-led military operation in Iraq in 2003 and DKK 600 million in promised aid to the country failed to result in the reconstruction contracts boom in Iraq that Danish companies had anticipated. (See DT 14-15/05)