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Audit: US can't account for $8.7B in Iraqi funds

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By Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. Defense Department is unable to properly account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war ravaged nation, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The report by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction offers a compelling look at continued laxness in how such funds were being spent in a country where people complain basic services like electricity and clean water are sharply lacking seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The audit found that shoddy record keeping by the Defense Department left the Pentagon unable to fully account for $8.7 billion it withdrew between 2004 and 2007 from a special fund set up by the U.N. Security Council. Of that amount, Pentagon "could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion."

The funds are separate from the $53 billion allocated by Congress for rebuilding Iraq.

The report comes at a critical time for Iraq, which four months after inconclusive elections squabbling political factions have still not agreed on a new government.


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