Well, it looks like the Halliburton crew are not the only ones with their fingers in the till. So add another billion to the billions of dollars that have disappeared into this black hole. No wonder the situation continues to deteriorate.
One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq’s defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country’s army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.
“It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history,” Ali Allawi, Iraq’s Finance Minister, told The Independent.
The purchases included scrapped Soviet-made helicopters, poorly made armored cars, cheap Egyptian knock-offs of MP5s, bullets as 3 times normal cost… etc.
The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions.
Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.
Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and “rogue elements” within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes.
Supposedly Paul Bremer approved Ziyad Cattan as the defense ministry’s procurement chief. Shopping trips abroad were led by Mr Cattan, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.
…Mr Bremer says he has never heard of Mr Cattan.
This situation is obviously totally out of hand, with serious ramifications for all of us, world wide.
Kudos to “Fran” at the European Tribune for the tip.