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$100 Million missing' from US Iraq fund

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posted on May, 5 2005 @ 03:44 AM

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

The Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction (SIGIR)'s report said it also found signs of potential fraud.

The money at issue includes proceeds from Iraqi oil sales and assets seized from Saddam Hussein's government.

A separate report criticises the use of almost $18bn (£9bn) of US taxpayers' money for reconstruction.

The SIGIR has concluded that of nearly $120m in cash paid out in south-central Iraq more than $7m is unaccounted for and that payments worth $89m do not have the proper paperwork.

The report refers to significant problems, accusing managers of "simply washing accounts" to try to make the books balance.

Examples of failures included:

* More than 600 transfers of more than $23m using the wrong form

* A contractor being paid twice for the same job

* Ten payments of over $300,000 submitted for cancelled contracts

* Two payment officers leaving Iraq with balances of over $700,000 without clearance.

The BBC's Ian Pannell in Washington says this is the first time that US government officials have been investigated in this way.

This latest news of fraud is rather unsettling to say the least. I wonder where the money went? KBR/Halliburton? BremerCo?

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