Washington: American diplomats wasted more than USD 200 million on an unwanted military scheme intended to train Iraqi police officers in the country, an audit has concluded, labelling the expenditure ‘de facto waste’.
According to The Telegraph, the Police Development Programme (PDP) was a five-year project designed to boost Iraqi security forces when US troops left the country last December.
The plans included a bid to turn over USD 108 million Baghdad Police College Annex to Iraqis by the end of the year and an end to training at a USD 98 million site at the US consulate in the southern city of Basra.
But diplomats at the American embassy in Baghdad, who were tasked with implementing the programme, failed to receive written commitment from Iraq to participate, a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction said, leading inspectors to query whether the USD 200 million initiative was wanted or needed.
"A major lesson learned from Iraq is that host country buy-in to proposed programs[sic] is essential to the long-term success of relief and reconstruction activities. The PDP experience powerfully underscores that point," auditors wrote in a 41-page summary of their inspection.
Carol Perez, the acting assistant secretary of state, disputed the report claiming the resources were still being used despite the lack of express written consent.
The US has spent about USD 8 billion to train and equip Iraqi police since the 2003 US-led invasion, auditors said. At that time, there were about 58,000 police in Iraq.