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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work!

Makes you proud of the stewardship of hard earned funds. Must've been all that great Halliburton training..
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Audit Describes Misuse of Funds in Iraq Projects
By James Glanz
The New York Times

Wednesday 25 January 2006

A new audit of American financial practices in Iraq has uncovered irregularities including millions of reconstruction dollars stuffed casually into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines who gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis who plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified as safe.

Agents from the inspector general's office found that the living and working quarters of American occupation officials were awash in shrink-wrapped stacks of $100 bills, colloquially known as bricks.

One official kept $2 million in a bathroom safe, another more than half a million dollars in an unlocked footlocker. One contractor received more than $100,000 to completely refurbish an Olympic pool but only polished the pumps; even so, local American officials certified the work as completed. More than 2,000 contracts ranging in value from a few thousand dollars to more than half a million, some $88 million in all, were examined by agents from the inspector general's office. The report says that in some cases the agents found clear indications of potential fraud and that investigations into those cases are continuing.

"What's sad about it is that, considering the destruction in the country, with looting and so on, we needed every dollar for reconstruction," said Wayne White, a former State Department official whose responsibilities included Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and who is now at the Middle East Institute, a research organization.

Others had a similar reaction. "It does not surprise me at all," said a Defense Department official who worked in Hilla and other parts of the country, who spoke anonymously because he said he feared retribution from the Bush administration. He predicted that similar problems would turn up in the major southern city of Basra and elsewhere in the dangerous desert wasteland of Anbar province. "It's a disaster," the official said of problems with contracting in Anbar.

No records were kept as money came and went from the main vault at the Hilla compound, and inside it was often stashed haphazardly in a filing cabinet.

Outside the vault, money seemed to be stuffed into every nook and cranny in the compound. "One contracting officer kept approximately $2 million in cash in a safe in his office bathroom, while a paying agent kept approximately $678,000 in cash in an unlocked footlocker in his office," the report says.

The money, most from Iraqi oil proceeds and cash seized from Saddam Hussein's government, also easily found its way out of the compound and the country. In one case, an American soldier assigned as an assistant to the Iraqi Olympic boxing team was given huge amounts of cash for a trip to the Philippines, where the soldier gambled away somewhere between $20,000 and $60,000 of the money. Exactly how much has not been determined, the report says, because no one kept track of how much money he received in the first place.
Comments:
Yet my heart loving a woman is the TRUE immorality of the world.

Good grief - does the White House have no shame?
 
I thought this was why we went to war!

By the way, you've been tagged
 
What does that mean, 'I've been tagged'.. is there a cure?
 
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