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Gulf War

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 1 May 2007, Official Report, column 1354, on the Gulf war, whether any assessment has been made of the administration system used for the UN Compensation Commission Iraq compensation awards. (137432)

The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) claims processing procedures were prescribed by the Security Council and were further elaborated by the Governing Council in a number of decisions. The procedures were implemented by panels of Commissioners whose recommendations for awards were approved by the UNCC’s Governing Council. Further details of the claims processing procedures can be found at the UNCC’s website:

http://www.unog.ch/uncc/.

The Government have not made any formal assessment of the administration system used by the UNCC. However, we understand that overpayments were made for a variety of reasons such as claims being submitted twice by the same applicant. Other claims were paid out twice to the same claimant because they featured in different claims categories due to administrative errors at the UNCC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 1 May 2007, Official Report, column 1354, on the Gulf war, what factors informed the decision to use Iraqi oil revenues to pay for UN Compensation Commission-approved compensation awards; and when that decision was taken. (137433)

The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) was established in 1991 by Security Council Resolution 687 to process claims and pay compensation for losses suffered as a result of the 1990 Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

Currently 5 per cent. of the proceeds of Iraq's oil export revenues are paid into the Compensation Fund. The use of these oil revenues was recommended by the UN Secretary-General to the Security Council in 1991 as the method by which Iraq should pay compensation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 1 May 2007, Official Report, column 1354, on the Gulf war, what explanation has been given by the UN Compensation Commission for errors made in the calculation and payment of compensation relating to Iraq. (137434)

In 2006 the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) conducted an internal investigation aimed at identifying potential overpayments resulting from multiple or overlapping claims.

We understand that the overpayments occurred for a variety of reasons. Some resulted from claims that were erroneously submitted twice by the same claimant. Other claims were paid out twice to the same claimant because they featured in different claims categories due to administrative errors at the UNCC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 1 May 2007, Official Report, column 1354, on the Gulf war, what the total amount in dispute is on the UN Compensation Commission awards which have been approved but have not been paid or are being reclaimed. (137435)

Corrections made as a result of the investigation into overpayments totalled US$ 80.3 million of which US$ 72.7 million remains still to be recovered. Approximately US$ 39 million of this sum will be recoverable by way of set-offs against Government awards not yet paid out. 113 UK claimants were overpaid a total of US$ 391,000.