Sunday, June 19, 2011

US accused of robbing Iraqi oil money

Head of the Iraqi Parliament's Integrity Committee Bahaa al-Araji

Source: Press TV

In a letter to the UN, Iraqi lawmakers accuse the US institutions of having stolen around 17 billion dollars of Iraq's oil fund following the 2003 invasion of the country.

In an official letter to the UN office in Baghdad last month, the Iraqi Parliament's Integrity Committee solicited the body's help to recover the missing fortune, which was taken from the Development Fund of Iraq (DFI) in the bedlam following the 2003 US-led invasion of the oil-rich country.

"All indications are that the institutions of the United States of America committed financial corruption by stealing the money of the Iraqi people, which was allocated to develop Iraq, (and) that it was about $17 billion," the letter was reported by Reuters as reading.

Earlier in June, US auditors warned as much as 6.6 billion dollars in Iraqi reconstruction funds may have been stolen in "the largest theft of funds in national history." The audit, by Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction Stuart Bowen, blamed the Pentagon for not keeping track of the funds, reported on June 14.

The alleged theft of money has been described by the parliamentary committee as a “financial crime” as the finger of suspicion falls on the US.

This comes while Iraq is not authorized to make a claim against the United States according to the UN Security Council resolutions.

The DFI was set up in 2003 at the behest of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to fund reconstruction projects and pay the salaries of Iraqi government employees. The CPA was headed by Paul Bremer who had been entrusted by the Bush administration with the task of overseeing the country's post-invasion reconstruction.

"No one on the Iraqi side was controlling the work of Paul Bremer at that time. So I think the administration of the United States needs to give the answers for where and how this (money) was being used,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh was quoted by Reuters as saying on Sunday.

"We cannot sue the Americans. Laws do not allow us to do that. All we want is to get this issue to the U.N.," said the head of the Iraqi Parliament's Integrity Committee, Bahaa al-Araji.

"If this works, it will open the way for Iraq to restore its stolen money," he added.

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