18 billion dollars of Iraqi money missing
The Iraqi parliament speaker has told Al Jazeera that the amount of Iraqi money unaccounted for by the US is $18.7 Billion – three times more than the reported $6.6 Billion that US and Iraqi auditors reported missing last week.
The Bush administration flew in a total of $20bn in cash into the country in 2004. This was money that had come from Iraqi oil sales, surplus funds from the UN oil-for-food program and seized Iraqi assets.
Iraqi officials argue that the US government was supposed to safeguard the stash under a 2004 legal agreement it signed with Iraq, hence making Washington responsible for the cash that has disappeared.
Pentagon officials have contended for the last six years that they could account for the money if given enough time to track down the records. The US has audited the money three times, but has still not been able to say exactly where it went.
Al Jazeera’s Iraq correspondent, Jane Arraf, said: “It’s an absolutely astonishing figure … There is going to be a fairly wide net cast – some of them [involved in mishandling of this money] are thought to be US officials, but many here believe that it is the Iraqis who have filled their pockets.
“There are no documents to indicate who got it, where it was spent and what was ever built from it.”