The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, told an Australian inquiry that AWB Ltd, the nation's monopoly wheat exporter, seems to have misled his government and the United Nations about its dealings with Saddam Hussein.
AWB allegedly channeled $222M to Saddam Hussein's regime by inflating transport fees under the UN Oil-for-Food program.
"It appears to me as though AWB has misled the Department of Foreign Affairs.
It misled Mr. Volcker, it's misled the UN."
Howard claims that he hadn't seen 21 diplomatic cables detailing claims that AWB paid kickbacks to Saddam.
"They weren't brought to my attention.
If they had've been brought to my attention, I would've read them."
"It hadn't crossed my mind that AWB would've behaved corruptly.
I had always believed the best of that company."
I find it somewhat surprising for such an experienced politician to be so trusting and naive.