[quote][b]January 31, 2005 -- The U.S.-led authority that ran Iraq after the invasion failed to keep tabs on $9 billion in funds, a new federal audit charges.
Stuart Bowen Jr., U.S. special inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, strongly criticized how the Coalition Provisional Authority handled the money, a pool of funds comprising Iraq's oil revenue and surplus from the U.N. oil-for-food program.
From the time of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 until power was returned to Iraq in June, "the CPA was burdened by severe inefficiencies and poor management," says the report, to be released today.
At one Iraqi ministry, 8,206 security guards were being paid, but only 602 were accounted for, the report said. Only a fraction of 74,000 paid guards were verified as working.
In another example, $1.4 million was paid to a consulting firm for a report that was never done, according to the audit.
U.S. taxpayer funds are closely monitored in Iraq — but allocations of the country's own money are not. There have been frequent charges of fraud.
Former authority head Paul Bremer blasted the report, saying that failure to pay Iraqi salaries would have created a security risk.