October 24, 2003

£3bn Iraq rebuilding cash 'goes missing'

Well, let's see what the Corporatist "US mainstream
news media" does with this story. Don't hold your
breath for an in-depth investigation. Meanwehile, here
is the skinny --- from The Scotsman...

'A NEW Iraq scandal erupted today as a report claimed billions of dollars earmarked for rebuilding the country have vanished after being handed to the United States-controlled governing body in Baghdad. "

http://www.news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1169292003

Thu 23 Oct 2003

£3bn Iraq rebuilding cash 'goes missing'

BILL JACOBS WESTMINSTER EDITOR


A NEW Iraq scandal erupted today as a report claimed
billions of dollars earmarked for rebuilding the
country have vanished after being handed to the United
States-controlled governing body in Baghdad.

At least $5 billion (£3bn) has been passed to the
ruling Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), a
leading UK aid agency has calculated.

But only a fifth of those development funds have been
accounted for, figures unearthed by Christian Aid
show.

And that missing four billion dollar "black hole" will
double by the end of the year unless the CPAís
accounts are made public.

The allegations emerged as British aid agencies
claimed millions of pounds of government aid cash will
have to be diverted from poor countries in South
America, Eastern and Central Asia to rebuilding Iraq.

And they threaten to undermine a conference in Spain,
where the United Nations and World Bank hopes to raise
£20 billion to pay for the reconstruction of the
country following the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was today challenged by the
charities to account for the missing $5bn, mainly from
oil revenue, as donors conference involving 60
countries got under way in Madrid.

A spokesman for the CPA denied that the money had been
lost or misused and promised that all the cash would
be fully accounted for.

The Mr Blair and US President George Bush last week
won a new UN resolution calling for international
contributions of money and troops.The donations will
go into a new fund overseen by the UN and the World
Bank.

But failure to show where the existing cash has gone
will fuel suspicion among Iraqis that large amounts
are being creamed off by US firms given contracts to
rebuild the country, Christian Aid said.

One senior European diplomat told the charity: "We
have absolutely no idea how the money has been spent.

"I wish I knew, but we just donít know. We have
absolutely no idea."

Roger Riddell, Christian Aidís international director,
called the situation "little short of scandalous". He
said: "The British Government must use its position of
second in command of the CPA to demand full disclosure
of this money and its proper allocation in the future.


"This is Iraqi money. The people of Iraq must know
where it is going and it should be used for the
benefit of all the countryís people - particularly the
poorest."

The UN transferred $1 billion from its old Oil for
Food Programme to the new Development Fund For Iraq
earlier this year.

The same UN resolution was supposed to set up an
International Advisory and Monitoring Board to oversee
the accounts.

It has not materialised and the only funds accounted
for so far are one billion dollars spent by the
Programme Review Board.

However, the CPA has received $2.5bn in assets seized
from Saddam Husseinís regime in Iraq and abroad,
Christian Aid reveals.

And it calculates oil revenue has contributed at least
another $1.5bn since the war.

Officials in Madrid admit that the latest allegations
will make it even more difficult to raise the £20bn
needed to rebuild Iraq and fuel potential donor
countriesí suspicions that the main beneficiaries of
the reconstruction programme are big US firms.

They expect little more that £3 billion to be raised.

And further concerns have been voiced over the news
that the UK is reducing overseas aid to South
American, Eastern European and central Asian countries
because of the cost of rebuilding Iraq.

A group of UK overseas aid charities said at least
£100 million would have to be diverted to help pay for
Britainís commitment to provide £267 million over the
next two years to deal with the aftermath of the Gulf
War.

International Development Secretary Hillary Benn
admitted the shift in resources today but said that
Iraq now qualified as a low income country.


This article:


http://www.news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1169292003


Posted by richard at October 24, 2003 11:12 PM