The U.S.-led authority that governed Iraq after the 2003 invasion did not properly safeguard $8.8 billion of Iraq’s own money and this lack of oversight opened up these funds to corruption, said a U.S. audit released on Sunday.
The U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction was scathing in criticism of how the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) handled Iraqi money until it handed over power last June to Iraq’s interim government.
“The CPA provided less-than-adequate controls for approximately $8.8 billion in DFI (Development Fund for Iraq) funds provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process,” said the report, released on the same day Iraqis voted in elections.
“We believe the CPA management of Iraq’s national budget process and oversight of Iraqi funds was burdened by severe inefficiencies and poor management,” he said.
DFI is made up of proceeds from Iraqi oil sales, frozen assets from foreign governments and surplus from the U.N. Oil for Food Program. Its handling has already come under fire by several U.N.-mandated audits.
The report said the CPA failed to ensure funds were not used to pay “ghost” employees and cited one example where CPA officials authorized payment for about 74,000 guards but only a fraction of these could later be validated.
Oh well, can’t expect fiscal responsibility from Republican cronies…