Letter 'shows Saddam told officials to reject bid for cash'
By Andrew Clennell, The Independent, UK, 23 April 2003
Saddam Hussein told his officials to reject a request by George Galloway for extra money from the Iraqi regime, a document obtained by the Daily Telegraph claims today.
The letter, which purported to be from Saddam's most senior aide and conveyed the President's personal decision, was circulated to four of the most senior people in the regime, including the Vice President, Tariq Aziz, the newspaper said.
The new letter, which the newspaper said was also found in the files of the Iraqi foreign ministry in Baghdad, bore the apparent signature of General Abid Hamid al-Khattab, a member of the President's secretariat, was dated 2 May 2000 and marked "confidential and personal". It referred to the date and reference number of an intelligence chief's alleged request for money on Mr Galloway's behalf.
The new letter said: "Mr President, our leader (God Bless Him) has given an order concerning the Iraqi Intelligence Services letter No 5 on 3/1/2000 as follows: To be studied by a four man committee and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
"But the belief is that the person who is promoting the right path, even using Western methods, needs exceptional support which we cannot afford." The newspaper reported that according to the document, Saddam was rejecting two requests allegedly made by Mr Galloway. The first was for a greater share of the profit from oil exports; the second for "exceptional commercial and contractual" opportunities with three ministries and the state electricity commission. "I do not think we can promise to do that if we consider it according to our policy," the new letter said. "Please act and let us be informed."
The Telegraph reported the alleged document last night despite strenuous denials from Mr Galloway about the original document they had produced and the threat of libel action.