Friday, August 20, 2004

Chump Change: $8.8 Billion In Iraq Funds Missing 

Where did it go?

At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon.

The audit by the Coalition Provisional Authority's own Inspector General blasts the CPA for "not providing adequate stewardship" of at least $8.8 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that was given to Iraqi ministries.

The audit was first reported on a Web site earlier this month by journalist and retired Col. David Hackworth. A U.S. official confirmed the contents of the leaked audit cited by Hackworth were accurate.

The development fund 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 in a U.N.-mandated audit released last month.

Among the draft audit's findings were that payrolls in Iraqi ministries under Coalition Provisional Authority control were padded with thousands of ghost employees.

In one example, the audit said the CPA paid for 74,000 guards even though the actual number could not be validated. In another, 8,206 guards were listed on a payroll but only 603 people doing the work could be counted.
(via Reuters)
I mean, heck folks, why should you and I be concerned?

Our government just lost $29.92 down the Iraq rathole for every man, woman and child in America (for a population estimate of the United States, go here) or, better yet, $67.31 for every American taxpayer (for the number of taxpayers in 2003 go here).

Isn't that pretty damned appalling? You and I don't really want to know how much money they've actually accounted for, do we?

UPDATE: I'm a historian, not a mathematician. Feel free to check my math and let me know if I'm right about this via the comment boards.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to fobyoc in comments for correcting my math.

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