$13 Billion in Aid to Iraq Wasted Or Stolen

This is from an article in the Washington Post today where a former Iraqi official estimated yesterday that more than $13 billion meant for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen through elaborate fraud schemes.

Iraq will never prosper as long as the poison of corruption rules their country at the end of the day. Other countries in the Middle East are also suffering from this. Corruption will continue to hinder reform and development. 

In one scheme described by Adhoob, Iraqi Defense Ministry officials helped set up two front companies that were to buy airplanes, armored vehicles, guns and other equipment with $1.7 billion in U.S. funds. The companies were paid, but in some cases they delivered only “a small percentage” of the equipment that had been ordered and, in one case, delivered bulletproof vests that were defective and could not be used.

Releasing its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on Tuesday, the anti-corruption watchdog said donor countries should address the problem by carefully targeting aid.

The index ranks 180 countries according to perceived levels of public sector corruption. The CPI scores countries on a zero to 10 scale, with zero indicating high levels of corruption and 10, low levels.

For the second year running, Somalia and Myanmar received the poorest marks, each scoring 1.4, just below Iraq on 1.5.

Denmark defended its ranking as the world’s least corrupt nation, alongside Sweden and New Zealand. All scored 9.3.

Transparency International (TI) chair Huguette Labelle called the high levels of corruption in low-income countries a “humanitarian disaster.”

“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society,” Labelle said in a statement.

“When these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people, and for justice and equality in societies more broadly”

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Filed under American Politics, Middle East Politics

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