Iraq funding lacks accountability

April 29, 2008 at 10:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- An audit by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found billions of dollars of Iraqi reconstruction funds went unused.

An audit by Inspector General Stuart Bowen Jr. reviewed more than 47,000 reconstruction projects in Iraq. The audit said U.S. officials canceled more than 800 contracts because of budget overruns or violence, and 112 of those were withdrawn for poor performance from the contractor.

The U.S. and Iraqi governments failed to develop a uniform process to transfer projects from Iraqi ministers to their provincial counterparts. Specifically, the report says, U.S. agencies lacked specific policies to transfer projects over to Iraqi control.

Bowen says the stove-piping of responsibilities creates a system that is both inefficient and lacks transparency to the detriment of the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

The audit says if the deficiencies are not address accordingly, Iraqi projects are in jeopardy of falling short of their intended goals.

The report concludes the structure of the body overseeing the transfer of assets and programs is informal and lacks clear lines of authority.

"As such, there is no mechanism to ensure accountability," the audit says.

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