MAY 23, 2008
Yet another in-depth audit has exposed the rampant fraud, corruption and waste in Iraq-related government contracts that have cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars since the war began.
Made public this week, results of this latest probe reveal that the U.S. government failed to comply with federal laws and regulations created to prevent fraud when it paid out nearly $8 billion worth of Iraq contracts in the last five years alone.
Conducted by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General, the audit says that nearly every transaction involved in the multi billion-dollar contracts failed to comply with federal laws, some (about $1.4 billion worth of deals) even lacked basic invoices explaining how the tax dollars were spent.
The damaging 68-page report (Internal Controls Over Payments Made in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt) highlights the case of an $11.1 million contract that includes “no invoice at all” supporting the request for payment. Additionally, there is no receiving report showing that the millions of dollars in goods or services were even delivered.
The inspector general’s audit covers Iraq contracts from 2001 through 2006, but other similar reports, conducted by various government agencies, have exposed the widespread corruption and waste increasingly prevalent in government deals in Iraq. Last year congressional investigators revealed that the government wasted $10 billion in fraudulent Iraq reconstruction contracts.
Earlier this year, a separate but equally alarming report published by the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction confirmed that the abuse of taxpayer dollars continues in Iraq, with millions of dollars in lucrative contracts that don’t get finished yet the U.S. government describes as complete. Those deals were found to be littered with excessive delays, poor performances and projects that simply never came to fruition.
Yet U.S. taxpayers have dished out more than $100 billion for Iraq reconstruction, which is nowhere near complete. The tab is sure to swell, especially since government officials have repeatedly failed to address the documented fraud and corruption that has tainted the effort.
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