$100-Million in Iraq: The Money's Not Lost, Just "Unaccounted For"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

$100-Million in Iraq: The Money's Not Lost, Just "Unaccounted For"

BBC News reports:
US civilian authorities in Iraq have been unable to account properly for nearly $100-million earmarked for rebuilding, US financial auditors say.

Two audits found signs of potential fraud regarding the money, which includes oil revenue and assets seized from Saddam Hussein's government. A third questioned the use of almost $18-billion in US taxpayers' money for reconstruction projects in Iraq.

The audits found "no assurance that fraud, waste and abuse did not occur."

Distribution of the funds was first the responsibility of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, and later of an organisation managed by the US embassy in Iraq.

... "Billions of dollars, the success of the stabilisation mission, and US credibility are at stake, and these reports inspire very little confidence in the competence and transparency of US efforts to date," said (Senate) Democrat Russ Feingold. "The US risks fostering a culture of corruption in Iraq."
You can say that again, Russ. But here's my favorite quote related to this story -- also from the BBC article:
An audit spokesman insisted they were not assuming the money had been lost, just that it was unaccounted for.

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