Tea companies paid hundreds of thousand of dollars in kickbacks to the toppled Saddam Hussein regime, the Independent Inquiry Committee into the UN Iraq Oil for Food programme scandal has claimed.

More than 200 tea suppliers from countries including India, Indonesia, Russia and Sri Lanka bribed the Iraqi government to secure contracts to supply humanitarian supplies under the scheme, out of 2,200 companies named in a committee report.

According to the committee, some of the typically larger tea kickbacks paid included Kas and Kami International of Sri Lanka, paying US$93,514 to obtain tea contracts worth US$2.2m - the company did not comment on the claims to the committee investigators - and Allana Sons Ltd, of India, who paid US$72,415 to secure a US$1.2m tea contract. Allana also made no comment to the committee.

The committee said payments "were disguised by various subterfuges" not disclosed "by Iraq or the participating contractors".

For the full list, visit http://www.iic-offp.org/story27oct05.htm (table VII).