August 30, 2006

AWB: "Damning Stuff" Indeed

Sure looks like a smoking gun to me:
The Cole inquiry has reportedly been given nine pages of handwritten notes by a senior foreign affairs official that prove the Howard government was warned two years ago about AWB's involvement in the oil-for-food scandal.

The notes, by veteran Australian diplomat John Quinn, mention such terms as "AWB Ltd", "service fees", "10 per cent" and "exposure" in the context of the impending investigation into kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime, The Australian newspaper reports.

Mr Quinn wrote the notes during meetings on July 22 and 29, 2004 when he was head of the government's Iraq taskforce.

The typed transcribe of his notes confirm he was told "AWB Ltd - problems", and there were "25,000 files - damning material".

Mr Quinn's notes also show one of the meetings was attended by representatives from the Attorney-General's Department, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A range of government officials and ministers, up and including Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, have insisted under oath they either didn't see, of felt compelled to ignore, the many warnings about AWB because the allegations were made by rival wheat sellers.


Blog Archive