The breaking story is that the interim Coaltion Authority in Iraq under US occupation, paid $2 million dollars in fresh bills in a gunnysack, because
of the prior destruction of the banking system.
WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. officials in postwar Iraq paid a contractor by stuffing $2 million worth of crisp bills into his gunnysack and routinely made
cash payments around Baghdad from a pickup truck, a former official with the U.S. occupation government says.
Because the country lacked a functioning banking system, contractors and Iraqi ministry officials were paid with bills taken from a basement vault in
one of Saddam Hussein's palaces that served as headquarters for the Coalition Provisional Authority, former CPA official Frank Willis said.
Officials from the CPA, which ruled Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, would count the money when it left the vault, but nobody kept track of the cash
after that, Willis said.
''In sum: inexperienced officials, fear of decision-making, lack of communications, minimal security, no banks, and lots of money to spread around.
This chaos I have referred to as a 'Wild West,''' Willis said in testimony he prepared to give Monday before a panel of Democratic senators who want
to spotlight the waste of U.S. funds in Iraq.
...Bremer said auditors mistakenly assumed that ''Western-style budgeting and accounting procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the
midst of a war.''
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There's not a lot of info yet about how many contractors were routinely paid this way... ''It was time for payment. We told them to come in and bring
a bag.'' He said the money went to Custer Battles of Middletown, R.I., for providing airport security in Baghdad for civilian passengers."
But there are some serious issues of accountability here.
No adequate accounting for cash under the CPA, according to auditors, and this is under heavy dispute as it was such a transparently corruptible and
No doubt a security contractor might have felt safe enough carrying $2 million around in wartorn Iraq in a sack. That's his job. But how many
billions in wastage and fraud (and worse) has there been in the series of $80 billion dollar taxpayer rort efforts?