U.S. official: Corruption in Iraq oil

July 17, 2006 at 9:35 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- Iraq's government-run oil industry is plagued with "massive corruption" that is hindering the country's movement toward self-reliance, a U.S. official said.

U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, head of the Government Accountability Office, told a House Government Reform subcommittee meeting that he reviewed oil production and revenue figures during a trip to Iraq earlier in the year, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"It took me about, you know, a second and a half to realize that, obviously, there was massive corruption going on, because the numbers just didn't add up," Walker said.

Walker said the theft of an estimated 10 percent of country's refined fuels and about 30 percent of imported fuels was enabled in part by the low price of gasoline in Iraq, 44 cents a gallon, compared to 90 cents a gallon for most of the region.

"That provides a tremendous incentive to be able to steal these fuels and be able to sell them for whatever purposes, corruption or otherwise," Walker said.

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