Post-Saddam fraud in Iraq

Here’s a bit of good war coverage from the Guardian:

[quote]British firms face fraud allegations over ‘phantom’ armoured vehicles
Questions over deal in which company was paid nearly £3m for order that was never delivered
Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain, Tuesday March 20, 2007, The Guardian

Three British companies are facing accusations that they engaged in large-scale fraud in Iraq after it emerged they were paid for “phantom” armoured vehicles destined to protect Iraqi government employees. The vehicles were never delivered, but the companies were paid anyway.

One company, headed by a former deputy assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard and a colourful ex-army officer, received $5.7m (£2.93m), even though the vehicles never left the factory in Russia where they were due to be manufactured.

Government investigators in the United States have condemned a “virtual pandemic” of corruption in Iraq which saw $9bn of the country’s oil revenues disappear without trace after Saddam Hussein was toppled four years ago. However, this is the first time that British companies have been accused of involvement in the widespread fraud which flourished in the chaos following the 2003 invasion.
…Mr Tarrant says amid the confusion and chaos in Iraq as the CPA handed over to the elected government there was little or no official oversight of contracts or payments. [color=green]“From what I know, the office in Baghdad that was signing all these letters of credit had only three employees - the president, his driver and a tea boy. He was there all day simply signing letters of credit. There was not a single officer there who understood anything more than a goat herder. All the competent staff had been sacked under the anti-Ba’athist regulations.”[/color]

The whereabouts of the millions of dollars paid to APTx remains a mystery. Mr Back agreed to meet a Guardian reporter, but then cancelled the meeting by text message and boarded a flight to Moscow. He has since been unavailable.

Mr James said: “There was nothing untoward about the contract at all. We received payment for work that was done.” He referred all queries to Simon Ratcliffe, a lawyer representing the company. Mr Ratcliffe declined to comment on the fraud allegations, and then hung up.

Missing Tonnes of cash just disappeared

Fraud, corruption and smuggling have reached such enormous proportions in Iraq since the invasion that some US officials call it a “second insurgency”.

[color=blue]Almost $9bn in Iraqi oil revenues cannot be accounted for, according to Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction.[/color]

The revenues were converted US dollar bills flown into Iraq in shrink-wrapped bundles, then distributed with few controls. Billions from seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the UN food for oil programme were sent in the same way.

In 2004, 281m notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent to Baghdad destined for Iraqi ministries and US contractors

Henry Waxman, head of a congressional committee, said last month: “Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?”

A memorandum prepared for the committee on oversight and government reform said one contractor received $2m in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles.

The memo concludes: “Many of the funds appear to have been lost to corruption and waste … thousands of ‘ghost employees’ were receiving pay cheques from Iraqi ministries … Some of the funds could have enriched both criminals and insurgents.”[/quote]

I just found this story at GNN here on a list of reprinted headlines. Strangely, I can’t make it come up on Google News or Google News Archive no matter what search terms I enter. Anyone know how that could be so? I’m puzzled.

And why didn’t this story become higher profile? It seems coverage of corruption in the new American protectorate of profits is lacking.

Some more dirt on BAE:

BAE CAAT in the Act

Britain faces tough defence of its reputation

Nice to get paid £3m quid for doing the square root of fuck all.

‘Sunni Triangle’ Blamed for Missing Armament

Mr. Ratcliffe (???) has since released a statement claiming that those armoured vehicles were indeed manufactured and “are out there somewhere, probably lost forever through no fault of our own in the notorious ‘Sunni Triangle.’”

Mr. Ratcliffe went on to explain that if whole weapons of mass destruction arsenals, billions of dollars and entire squadrons of aeroplanes could disappear without a trace in the infamous ‘Sunni Triangle’ “what were a few dozen missing armoured vehicles?”

He vowed to press his client’s claim for full, final payment and warned that if anyone were foolish enough to persist in besmirching his client’s good name they risked vigorous litigation for libel and/or slander.

Bags and bags of cash… thanks, all you hard-working American taxpayers!

Here is a lengthy article just printed today on CounterCurrents that details a lot of the brazen fraud that goes on over there.


How Iraq Was Looted

By Evelyn Pringle, 24 April, 2007,

With one swipe of the pen, Bremer granted himself the authority to run the government ministries, appoint Iraqi officials and award contracts for reconstruction. Next he fired 500,000 Iraqis, most of them soldiers, but pink slips also went out to many doctors, nurses, teachers and other public employees as well.

For the most part, the CPA financed its activities with billions of dollars that belonged to the Iraqis. On May 22, 2003, a UN Security Council passed a resolution that directed the proceeds from Iraqi oil to be placed in a Development Fund for Iraq, and the CPA was granted authority to control the fund and decide which profiteers would get contracts.

During the year that Bremer controlled the purse strings, the Iraqi Development Fund received $20.2 billion, [color=red]including $8.1 billion from the UN’s oil-for-food program[/color], $10.8 billion from Iraqi oil, and the rest from repatriated funds, vested assets and donations.

The CPA accounting system was cash and carry and a steady stream of cash was flown into Bagdad from the US. Inspector General, Stuart Bowen later said that he knew of one $2 billion flight.

A report released by the House Government Reform Committee in February 2007, shows that in the 13 months that Bremer ruled, from May 2003 to June 2004, the Federal Reserve Bank in New York shipped nearly $12 billion in a cash to Iraq.

One can only imagine the Bank service charges associated with these shipments because to accomplish this feat, according to the Democratic chairman of the Reform Committee, Henry Waxman, the cash weighed 363 tons and the Bank had to count and pack 281 million individual bills, including more than 107 million $100 bills, and then load them onto wooden pallets to be shipped to Bagdad on C-130 cargo planes. [/quote]

Who is fucking with the oil-for-food money now?

There is a lot more in the story, including this:

[quote]A CPA advisor to the Ministry of Finance was so concerned about payroll corruption that he submitted a formal complaint that stated in part: “Of the 1.6 million government employees currently on payroll, credible estimates put the number of ghost workers at somewhere between 250,000-300,000 employees.”

An October 2004, audit performed for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, created by the UN to monitor the spending of Iraqi money, found one case where a payment of $2.6 million was authorized by a CPA senior adviser to the Ministry of Oil, and auditors were unable to obtain an underlying contract or any evidence that the services had been rendered.

The auditors in this group found 37 cases where files could not be located for contracts worth $185 million all total. In another 52 cases, there was no record that goods had been received for a total of $87.9 million.

[color=blue]People on the ground in Iraq said that doing business with the CPA was reminiscent of the Wild West.[/color] Former CPA employees told a congressional committee that sackfuls of cash were tossed around like footballs. Franklin Willis, showed pictures of himself and others holding up bundles of $100 notes totaling $2 million, which he said was used to pay the contractor Custer Battles. “We told them to come in and bring a bag,” Willis said.

He also testified that millions of dollars in $100 bills were stored in the basement of the CPA offices and distributed to favored contractors with little accounting discipline. For instance, in the year that the CPA ruled, Custer was awarded contracts worth more than $100 million.[/quote]

…and on it goes…
Daddy Warbucks bless America!

That outrage would seem oh so much more credible if it had been directed when the UN Oil for Food scam saw $70 billion disappear. $8 billion is chump change. Consider me 1/8.5th outraged. Got anything else? Of course, the other major factor that goes unsaid is that not being able to account for something in a nation that had seen its entire financial and accounting management system destroyed is a bit different that conscious pilfering with the wink wink nod of the UN leadership (but then why wouldn’t it wink wink nod nod, it was getting paid handsomely enough).

VIDEO: Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers

Published on Saturday, August 21, 2004 by the Inter Press Service

‘Staggering Amount’ of Cash Missing In Iraq

by Emad Mekay

Oh, hi Fred. I was hoping you’d notice… :rainbow:

Over how many years? And was America uninvolved in the UN scandal? America was running the show during the cruel years between invasions.

No, I think that you need to look to Saddam, the French and Russians and of course to Kofi Annan and his team. The Iranians also smuggled a lot of oil. This added even more. Four US businesspeople were involved but now elected officials. Very different than the other countries especially those who opposed the invasion. Wonder why? haha

Fred, the only reason oil for food started was because the US/UK refused to allow economic sanctions to be removed. Don’t forget that.

Sounds like somebody isn’t supporting the troops :frowning:

Your post raises a larger question, namely: Would any other nation be able to handle such large amounts of money, in the current circumstances, without a similarly large amount going missing? Say for example the government of France, Spain, China, Mexico, Russia or even…wait for it…Canada was to suddenly be in the US Admin’s current situation. Would it not be likely that similarly large amounts would go missing?

Couldn’t we just hang someone and be done with?

Or should we invade the UK now?