Is This What Soldiers Died For?
More U.S. Corruption Scandals in Iraq
We continue to receive more and more stories of U.S. corruption in Iraq.A Christian charity claimed that failure of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to set up an independent auditing board to oversee spending had left a question mark over what had happened to up to $4 billion that should have been spent on rebuilding Iraq.
from anti-corruption group Transparency International --
The CPA defended its handling of Iraq's finances, insisting that all money raised from oil sales and other revenue sources had been spent on reconstruction work.
A CPA spokeswoman, Karen Triggs, said: "The CPA is unequivocally committed to maintaining the highest standards of transparency and acceptability in stewarding Iraqi funds." However, that claim is contradicted by the fact that there is no auditing and monitoring of the funds. Triggs admitted that an "International Advisory and Monitoring Board" should be assembled in the future.
Eighty Percent Missing!
Christian Aid claims that the CPA was only able to account for $1 billion out of an estimated $5 billion it had received. Roger Riddell, Christian Aid's international director, called the situation "little short of scandalous".
In its report the charity said: "What this report most shockingly reveals ... is that the billions of dollars of oil money that has already been transferred to the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority has effectively disappeared into a financial black hole."
The report's introduction contained a thinly veiled political attack on the coalition, accusing it of leaving many of Iraq's poorest people worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein and claiming that the "much boasted" reconstruction plans had barely begun.
The Progress Report points out -- this is not a political attack, it is a moral criticism.
Christian Aid cited a number of sources of revenue that it said remained unaccounted for, but the CPA claimed details of its income and expenditure were clearly set out in its budgets for 2003 and 2004.
The United States hopes it can persuade the countries attending the conference to come up with $36 billion in aid. John Negroponte, the US envoy to the United Nations, said: "What's important at the moment is that the economy be jump-started, because it's flat on its back."
The emerging scandal makes the U.S. look corrupt and unlikely to gain more contributions.
Japan has pledged $1.5 billion for 2004; South Korea has agreed to $200 million, and Canada has offered $150 million. The total of those pledges is far less than the amount already in dispute as "missing."Halliburton so far has overcharged the United States by up to $250 million for gas purchased from other countries to distribute in Iraq, according to the Congressional Research Service. Halliburton received a no-bid contract worth up to $7 billion to rebuild Iraq's oil industry.
from anti-corruption group Common Cause --
The United States is paying about 60 percent more per gallon of gas than Iraq's State Oil Marketing Association, which is also importing fuels from nearby countries. That's $1.60 per gallon for the United States, versus 98 cents per gallon for Iraq's state oil company.
Ridiculous Economic Incentives
Halliburton's contract is what is known as "cost-plus." That means Halliburton charges the U.S. military for whatever its costs are, plus a fixed percentage as profit. In other words, it's actually in Halliburton's interest to increase its costs, especially if it has no competition.
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