Avoiding Contract Scandals 103
When the blame game begins, ignorance is rarely a good defence. It does, however, seem to be a very popular defence. Which brings us to the third lesson in this series.
Don’t stick your head in the sand when your contract prices mysteriously go up, just as market prices around you are going down.
There’s another name for prices that seem too good to be true: kickbacks. And with AWB accused of kicking back around $300 million to Saddam Hussein’s regime, everyone wants to know who knew.
Not me, says AWB boss Andrew Lindberg. He has no recollection of puffing up the price of wheat contracts in order to funnel cash from the UN oil-for-food program back to the former Iraqi regime. After four days of questions, and around 200 “can’t recall” answers, counsel assisting the special inquiry had this to say:
“It’s ridiculous to suggest that you did not know, Mr Lindberg. Are you a complete fool?”
The inquiry continues.
Lindberg can’t recall