Thursday, November 09, 2006

Baghdad's Missing Billions

"Iraq has become a vast financial black hole.
Since the war began in 2003, the Americans have spent around $30 billion of their money - and at least $20 billion of Iraq's own money - in rebuilding the country. But where has it all gone?
Mark Gregory has followed the money trail from Iraq to Washington via a kebab shop in Jordan.
He discovers that there have been allegations of fraud, mismanagement and corruption on such a gigantic scale that much of the money is now untraceable.

Part One: The first year of reconstruction

In the first part of this two-part series, Mark Gregory travels to Iraq to investigate what's happened to the billions of dollars that has been invested in rebuilding the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein
He uncovers allegations of impropriety in the awarding of contracts in the United States, chaos at the occupation authority that ran post-war Iraq, and that large sums of Iraqi oil money has disappeared without any record of how it was spent.
Even the finance ministers in the Kurdish regions claim to have no knowledge of how the reconstruction money has been spent.

Part Two: Failure of the US aid programme

In the second part of this two part series, Mark Gregory picks up the money trail at the time the Americans handed power back to the Iraqis in June 2004.
The US-led administration, talking shortly before the return of sovereignty, offered a vision of a country in which the lights worked and clean water flowed from the taps.
But two-and-a-half years after the handover, many Iraqis say their lives are getting worse despite the vast sums allocated for rebuilding.
Mark Gregory explains how profiteering, corruption, bad management and the strength of insurgency have all paid a part in the failure to rebuild Iraq.

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