Thursday, May 05, 2005

Whoops! Lost it . . .

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Chalabi: "I'm not a crook!"

The big news today is that the US government can't account for approximately $100 million in cash allegedly used in the "reconstruction" of Iraq following the March 2003 invasion. According to Matt Kelley of the AP:
became awash in billions of dollars in cash after the U.S. invasion two years ago, often with few or no controls over how that money was spent and accounted for. From the $8.8 billion provided to Iraq's interim government to millions provided to U.S. contractors, investigations have detailed a system ripe for abuse.

The latest indication of that came Wednesday when investigators released a report saying $96.6 million in cash could not be properly accounted for. The total included more than $7 million that was simply gone, according to the report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

It said $89.4 million in cash payments in south-central Iraq were made without the necessary supporting documentation, the investigation found. Indications of fraud and other wrongdoing are the subject of separate, continuing probes.

Wednesday's report accused civilian contract managers of "simply washing accounts" to try to make the books balance. Staffing shortages and the quick turnover of those responsible for the cash contributed to the problems, the report said, echoing the findings in previous reports.

Defense Department staffers are said to be frantically searching under Green Zone couches and the glove compartments of their Hummvees, as well as offshore bank accounts of various Iranian-backed terror groups including Ibrahim al_Jafaari's Dawa Party.

"I have no idea what all the fuss is about," interim Oil Minister Ahmed Chalabi told our intrepid reporter from the deck of his new 500-foot yacht, the Hammurabi. "The occupation's financial controls were much better than Jordan's have ever been."

Former Coalition Provisional Authority Jerry Bremer has said he "might have left [the money] in [his] other pants." He said he will "be sure to look for it" when he gets home.
I sometimes hide a $20 in the inner pocket of my shave kit. They should try there.
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