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From 1995 to 1997, Kojo Annan worked in West Africa for the Swiss-based inspection company Cotecna, then as a marketing consultant for the company. A July 1998 billing memo for Cotecna stated that Annan wrote that he should be reimbursed for eight days that included six days "during my father's visit to Nigeria". A fax dated August 28, 1998 included the statement, "Your work and the contacts established at this meeting should ideally be followed up at the September 1998 UN General Assembly in New York." A September 1998 hotel bill for the Holiday Inn Garden Court in Durban was paid for by Cotecna, while he was registered as being there for the United Nations. He used a calling card paid for by Cotecna to call from a phone that begins 212-963-XXXX, the same beginning number for most phones in the United Nations in New York City.
In September 1998, Kojo Annan met with several heads of state and government ministers during the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. In December, Cotecna won a $4.8 million Oil-for-Food contract. Kojo Annan, Kofi Annan and Cotecna deny that the younger Annan was involved in the Oil-for-Food contract. Annan also claimed that connections with Cotecna severed after 1998, however Kojo continued to be paid by the company until February 2004.
The Second Interim Report by the IIC confirmed that Cotecna indeed won the Oil for Food contract fairly and based on merit. The Committee concluded that there was no link between Kofi Annan and the award of Cotecna’s contract; and Cotecna has been transparent and cooperative through this investigation.
On December 13, 2004, Kojo Annan claimed that the probe into the Oil-for-Food Programme by U.S. congressional committees was "a witchhunt from day one as part of a broader Republican political agenda."A January 2005 article in The Sunday Times announced that he had confessed involvement in the UN Oil-for-Food Programme scandal; in a libel settlement eleven months later, the paper announced that it now "entirely accepts that the allegation [of his confession] was untrue."
Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine mentioned Kojo in the song United Abominations the title track of Megadeth's 2007 studio release, this song based on the UN sparked an official retort from the UN on July 10, by Mark Leon Goldberg of the United Nations affairs blog, UN Dispatch posted a rebuttal. This was based on the accusations Mustaine made in the song.
Annan and his sister Ama Annan are from Kofi Annan's first marriage with Titilola Alakija, a Nigerian. The couple separated when Kojo was six years old and got a divorce two years later. When his parents separated, he lived with his father and spent holidays with his mother and sister. Kojo's second name "Adeyemo" means "the crown befits the child" in Yoruba. Kojo is a descendant of Adeyemo Alakija through his mother. Kojo was educated in Wales at the independent school Rydal Preparatory School, and in England, at Rendcomb College, where he excelled as a rugby player and subsequently at Keele University. He was also educated in Switzerland. He once lived in Lagos, moved out after the oil for food saga to shuttle Accra, New York and London. He has now made Dzorwulu area in Accra his base.
- Hunt, Jonathan, et el, "Documents Challenge Kojo Annan's Story", Fox News (input from Associated Press), December 16, 2004.
- Shawn, Eric, et al., "How Close Was Kojo Annan to Oil-for-Food?", Fox News (input from The New York Post), December 3, 2004.
- Koinange, Jeff, "Annan's son: Probe 'a witchhunt'", CNN, December 13, 2004.
- Wald, Jonathan, "Annan's son settles UK libel case", CNN, November 11, 2005.
- "Adeyemo". Online Nigeria: Nigerian Names and Meanings. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- Kaye Whiteman (October 21, 2013). Lagos: A Cultural and Literary History. Andrews UK. ISBN 978-190-84-9389-7. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- MacAskill, Ewen, "English public schoolboy turned businessman who 'disappointed' his father", The Guardian, March 30, 2005