Thursday, May 05, 2005


Will the UN Investigate Possible US Corruption?

I know it's an old story for the folks paying attention, but how dare Senate Republicans criticize the UN's handling of oil-for-food funds without first investigating how 80% of the cash being handled by the US mysteriously vanished?
Federal auditors can't trace $96.6 million earmarked for Iraq
By Seth Borenstein
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Nearly $100 million in Iraqi reconstruction cash - which was supposed to be handed out by U.S. workers in shrink-wrapped bricks of new hundred-dollar bills - can't be accounted for, federal auditors reported Wednesday.

A criminal investigation into possible fraud in a handful of cases is under way to determine what happened to some of the $96.6 million that was earmarked to rebuild south-central Iraq, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
The inspector general examined a total of $119.9 million in cash, but auditors could properly account for only $23.3 million of that money.

The inspector general's office was unable even to estimate how much of the missing $96.6 million was due to sloppy recordkeeping and how much was lost to criminal activity.
(Source: Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, May 4, 2005 [Emphasis added])
Let's see: $23.3 million traceable out of $119.9 million = 19.4% of the funds could be traced, and 80.6% of the money could not be traced. Even Enron had better accounting than that.

In fairness, the auditors think most of the money just wasn't tracked properly:
The SIGIR has concluded that of nearly $120m in cash paid out in south-central Iraq more than $7m is unaccounted for and that payments worth $89m do not have the proper paperwork.
(Source: BBC News US Iraq audit reveals major flaws, May 5, 2005[Emphasis added])
However, if I lost track of 4 out of every 5 dollars I was entrusted with at a business, I'd be blogging from a jail cell. I sure wouldn't be running around criticizing other people's accounting practices.


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