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Bremer accused of wasting US$12 bln from Iraqi assets: Guardian

Paul Bremer

The United States has transferred around US$12 billion, in the form of packages of shrink-wrapped $100 bills to Iraq and distributed them without controlling the expenditure, The Guardian reported.

“The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee,” the report said.

“In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tons, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover,” it added.

Details of the shipments, according to the report,  “have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction.”

The report quoted the committee chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the US invasion to Iraq, said the way the cash had been handled was ‘mind-boggling’.

"The numbers are so large that it doesn't seem possible that they're true. Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?,” he wondered.

The memorandum clarified the details of the unofficial manner in which the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, run by Paul Bremer, disbursed the money, which came from the sales of the Iraqi oil, surplus funds from the UN oil-for-food programme and seized Iraqi assets.

“Cash payments were made from the back of a pickup truck, and cash was stored in unguarded sacks in Iraqi ministry offices. One official was given $6.75m in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds,” it said.

"Many of the funds appear to have been lost to corruption and waste ... thousands of 'ghost employees' were receiving pay cheques from Iraqi ministries under the CPA's control. Some of the funds could have enriched both criminals and insurgents fighting the United States,” the memorandum concluded.

Last Modified: Sunday، 27 January 2019 03:33 PM