From 2006 to 2008, I represented defense contractor whistleblowers in Iraq reconstruction fraud cases. Sadly, not much has changed. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) recently
said in a report that auditors in Baghdad fear up to 80 percent of an estimated $1 billion leaving the country weekly lacks proper documentation.The money laundering in the SIGIR Report of almost $800 million dollars a week is staggering. But the corruption is not just on the part of Iraqi institutions like Iraq's central bank,
. . . Iraq's top auditor, Abdul-Basit Turki, disclosed the findings about the extent of the alleged money laundering to American officials last month.
Turki also raised concerns about "what he called a triangle of sectarianism, corruption and violence, in which each element feeds off the others in a dynamic that threatens the well-being of the state," according to the SIGIR report.
which is at the heart of a probe into alleged financial wrongdoing involving its former governor and other top officials.
In 2009, Vanity Fair reported on massive fraud allegations in Iraq on the part of American contractors - to the tune of tens of billions of dollars:
In Grayson’s view, a nightmare combination of jacked-up bids, waste, kickbacks, and inflated subcontracts means that as much as half the value of every contract he has seen “ends up being fraudulent in one way or another.” He adds, “Cumulatively, the amount that’s been spent on contractors in the four-plus years of the war is now over $100 billion. Pick any number between 10 percent and 50 percent—I don’t think you can seriously argue that the scale of the fraud is less than 10 percent. Either way, you’re talking cumulatively about something between $10 and $50 billion.”My client, former State Department officer Peter Van Buren, wrote a poignant article and book (recently re-released in paperback) evidencing massive fraud, waste, and abuse in the State Department's reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released a final report on the State Department’s handling of Quick Response Funds (QRF), money that was handed out in Iraq by Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), two of which I lead in Iraq. Those experiences formed the fodder of my book, We Meant Well. The State Department and its USAID colleagues “managed” about $258 million in QRF funds.All of these reports - whether of money laundering, war profiteering or good old-fashioned government fraud, waste and abuse - demonstrate that the corruption and systematic lack of oversight still plaguing U.S. efforts in Iraq are nothing new and that the U.S. is far from adequately addressing these issues.
So taxpayers and patriots, here’s the highlights, in the Inspector’s own words: . . .
"Specifically, DoS may never know what it got out of those micropurchases made in the early years because of the lack of documentation showing that the goods or services were delivered. Consequently, it is highly possible that some portions of QRF funds were not used as intended."