Inspector: $6.6 billion allegedly stolen in Iraq has been found

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, October 27, 2011 11:34 EDT
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U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Nichols, with 1st Platoon, Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, points to a the location where Iraq security forces will place their traffic control point June 19, 2007, in Adhamiya, Iraq.
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A sum of $6.6 billion allegedly stolen in Iraq has been found, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said Wednesday.

While it was thought to have gone missing, an earlier SIGIR report said the funds were not accounted for due to the “weaknesses” of the Pentagon’s management and control mechanisms for their oversight.

Turns out, SIGIR now says the funds were actually being held by the Central Bank of Iraq, where they belonged.

“Sufficient evidence exists showing that almost all of the remaining $6.6 billion remaining was transferred to actual and legal CBI (Central Bank of Iraq) control,” the report says.

The cash was part of a series of shipments totaling more than $12 billion, taken largely from the U.N. “oil-for-food” program and the sales of Iraqi oil.

Officials in the Bush administration had hoped the massive pallets of cash would help calm Iraq’s civilian population following the chaotic and violent invasion and toppling of Saddam.

Investigators said in 2005 that Bush officials apparently neglected to put procedures in place to track the money or hold recipients accountable for its proper applications.

Photo: Flickr user U.S. Army.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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