US Lost Billions to ‘Fraud, Waste’ in Iraq?
The U.S. government’s drive to rebuild Iraq “put billions of American
taxpayer dollars at risk of fraud, waste and abuse,” and the amount misspent
will never be known, according to the final report by a U.S. watchdog
The report by Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen,
released today, questioned almost $636 million in costs through June. Auditors
found such lapses as “inadequate reviews of contractors’ invoices,” a lack of
sufficient oversight staff and poor recordkeeping, according to the report.
The U.S. provided more than $51 billion for reconstruction projects in
war-torn Iraq from fiscal year 2003 to 2011.
The report said U.S. officials failed in “numerous instances” to thoroughly
review contractors’ invoices before paying them. In one case involving a State
Department contract, the department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs had one contracting officer validating invoices totaling
more than $2.5 billion.
“As a result, invoices were not properly reviewed, and the $2.5 billion in
U.S. funds were vulnerable to fraud and abuse,” the report found.
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