WASHINGTON (AFP) – The former US-led Coalition Provisional Authority headed by American Paul Bremer lost track of nearly nine billion dollars it transferred to Iraqi government ministries to a black hole of fraud, kickbacks and fund misappropriation, according to Time magazine.
In a report to hit US newsstands Monday, Time reports that the CPA left “large portions of the 8.8 billion Iraqi treasury open to fraud, kickbacks and misappropration of funds,” citing a US inspector general’s audit. The report was written by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction Stuart Bowen, a high-powered lawyer from Texas, it said.
Time said Bowen’s audit cites Bremer’s oversight of the CPA with lax accounting and inadequate disclosure.
The report says that on one payroll, for example, only 602 of the 8,206 names could be confirmed, with no paper trail existing for the rest of the cash.
Another cited example of concern said the CPA allowed Iraqi officials to delay reporting the 2.5 billion dollars the interim government received in oil-for-food money last spring.
The report said Bremer — who recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom — issued an “angry eight-page reply” to Bowen’s findings, criticizing the audit for misconceptions and inaccuracies.
Bowen’s office could not be reached for comment late Sunday.