Your tax dollars at work

Nearly $100 million has gone missing from funds allocated by the U.S. government for Iraq's reconstruction.


Mark Follman
May 5, 2005 8:49PM (UTC)

Nearly $100 million has gone missing from funds allocated by the U.S. government for Iraq's reconstruction. Some U.S. officials are suspected of embezzlement, according to a report released Wednesday from Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

"In one case," reports the L.A. Times, "two U.S. officials left Iraq after completing their tours of duty without accounting for a total of $1.5 million. The manager of the cash funds zeroed out the balance on a spreadsheet -- an apparent attempt 'to remove outstanding balances by simply washing accounts,' the audit report says. The officials, like all others in the audit, were not named.

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"In another case, the U.S. on May 30 ordered the removal of the official in charge of the overall cash program, but he remained in the job until June 20. When told he had failed to account for $1,878,870, the official returned exactly that sum three days later -- leading to suspicions that he had 'a reserve of cash and turned in only the amount' needed to complete the clearance process, the report says.

"In another case, one payment official had three errors in his accounting books. In one example, he told superiors that he had given $311,100 to another U.S. official when he had actually handed over $1,210,000, leaving it unclear where the remaining $898,900 was, the report says."

This ought to do wonders for the public's increasingly shaky support for the war.


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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