US ‘wasted’ $60 bn in efforts to rebuild Iraq post invasion
Washington: The US poured USD 60 billion into unsuccessful reconstruction projects in Iraq 10 years after invading the country, an auditor’s report has found.
The final report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, revealed that the ambitious plan to transform the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein has been marked by half-finished projects and crushed expectations.
The aid effort was plagued by infighting among US agencies and an improvised ‘adhocracy’ approach.
The report to Congress said that there was no one clearly in charge of the massive investment that was supposed to put Iraq on a stable footing, news24 reports.
It added that management and funding gaps caused hundreds of projects to fall short of promised results, leaving a legacy of bitter dissatisfaction among many Iraqis.
Some of the reconstruction money was stolen, with a number of US military officers and contractors now imprisoned for fraud, while other funds remain unaccounted for to this day, it said.
According to the report, of USD 2.8 billion in Iraqi oil revenues handled by the US Defence Department, officials could not produce documents accounting for the use of about USD 1.7 billion, including USD 1.3 billion in fuel purchases.
The lengthy report highlighted some of the worst examples of mismanagement and graft and included interviews with senior Iraqi and US officials who mostly regretted the outcome of the reconstruction programme.
Both Iraqi and US officials agreed that the Americans ignored the advice of Iraqis or never bothered to consult them before launching costly projects, with sometimes disastrous results, the report added.