Command can't account for much of $5.2B fund
An audit finds the command's oversight is hampered by violence.
Published December 7, 2007
WASHINGTON - A Pentagon audit of a $5.2-billion fund used to train and equip Iraqi security forces found U.S. commanders used sloppy accounting and could not always show that equipment, services and construction were delivered properly, according to a report released Thursday.
The report by the Defense Department Inspector General's Office said the command in charge, known as the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, was unable to provide "reasonable assurance" that the money was used to achieve the intended results and that it was protected from waste.
The report, based on an auditors' visit to Iraq from March to May 2007, said the command's ability to oversee management of the fund is hurt by high levels of violence. It also noted that the command has fewer onsite comptrollers and other oversight resources than large commands in the United States.
Some examples of the auditors' findings:
-The inspector general audited equipment purchases valued at nearly $1.1-billion, for armored vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other items, from two sets of supply sources. Of $643.1-million from one set of suppliers, the inspector general was able to follow a paper trail for 12.9 percent of it, or $82.9-million. Of $438.2-million from the second set, an audit trail was available for only 1 percent.
-The command could not account for 18 of 31 heavy tracked recovery vehicles valued at $10.2-million. Also, the command could not prove that Iraqi Security Forces received 2,126 of 2,943 generators valued at $7-million. It also could not account for six of 18 garbage trucks valued at $700,000.
Gates visit: Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he came away from his visit to Iraq feeling "very good about the direction of things in the security arena." The top U.S. commander in the country, Gen. David Petraeus, described a 60 percent decline in violence there in the past six months, and Gates said the Iraqi government now must take advantage and move toward political reforms. Both said it is too soon to tell what has caused the drop, or whether Iran is living up to its promise to try to stem the movement of arms and extremists into Iraq.
Politics: Iraqi legislators suspended parliamentary sessions Thursday until the end of the month because of the Muslim religious season - the end of much-delayed efforts to pass U.S.-backed legislation aimed at achieving national reconciliation this year.
Violence: Eight Kurdish soldiers were killed and five wounded in clashes with alleged al-Qaida gunmen who attacked a Kurdish checkpoint close to the Iranian border, officials said.
[Last modified December 7, 2007, 02:34:04]
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