Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Missing In Iraq Rebuilding Effort
A special task force is looking at every transaction and every person involved in the effort to rebuild Iraq because of “hundreds of millions of dollars” lost to fraud, bribery and theft. (Pictured is reconstruction at the Askariya mosque in Samarra, Iraq)
Stuart Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, is part of a multiagency task force using automated data mining to sift through the $50 billion spent on reconstruction by military and civilian agencies. SIGIR is working with federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN.
So far, with $28 billion of the monies having been investigated, $340 million involving 880 vendors has been discovered.
Bowen said cases tend to involve contracting officers in Iraq and Kuwait who funneled contracts to specific businesses in return for kickbacks and bribes, or the simple pilfering of cash, mainly from the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, or CERP.
The guilty have been found to have smuggled cash home in their boots and mailed it home in boxes; they sold truckloads of stolen fuel in downtown Baghdad and took payola in the form of watches, cars and plane tickets.
“Kickbacks and contractor collusion characterize most of these criminal investigations,” Bowen said. “It’s contracting officers and paymasters and individuals who had control over large sums of money or access to it.”
Most of the cases are from the years 2003-2006, and represent just a portion of the potential wrongdoing.Click here for reuse options!
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