BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Shenanigans?

Okay. Stick with me today.

Gonna tie a new story...to an old one.

The new story:

What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?

Dealt with this yesterday - however, it's more important today:
ONE BILLION DOLLARS has been plundered from IRAQ'S DEFENCE MINISTRY in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country's army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.
Schtick from yesterday --

Museum piece weapons?

Like...swords, spears and shields?!
The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad IN CASH and has disappeared.

"It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history," Ali Allawi, Iraq's Finance Minister, told The Independent.

"Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal."

The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do.

Most of the money was supposedly spent buying arms from Poland and Pakistan. The CONTRACTS were peculiar in four ways.

According to Mr Allawi, they were AWARDED WITHOUT BIDDING, and were signed with a Baghdad-based company, and not directly with the foreign supplier. The money was paid up front, and, surprisingly for Iraq, it was paid at great speed out of the ministry's account with the Central Bank.

*

The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions.

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.
Right.

Now...the OLD story...originally posted on this blog...last January:

"Audit: $9 BILLION Unaccounted for in Iraq"

D'oh!
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq (the CPA) was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.

The U.S. officials relied on Iraqi audit agencies to account for the funds but those offices were not even functioning when the funds were transferred between October 2003 and June 2004, according to an audit by a special U.S. inspector general.

The inspector general said the (CPA) disbursed $8.8 billion to Iraqi ministries "without assurance the moneys were properly accounted for."

U.S. officials, the report said, "did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractural controls." There was no way to verify that the money was used for its intended purposes of financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration.

Some of the transferred funds may have paid "ghost" employees, the inspector general found.
That old trick? Come on, people. Think outside the box!
CPA staff learned that 8,206 guards were on the payroll at one ministry, but only 602 could be accounted for, the report said. At another ministry, U.S. officials found 1,417 guards on the payroll but could only confirm 642.
BTW: U.S. officials, including former CPA head Paul Bremer, denied the conclusions of this report.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Sunday the (CPA) was hamstrung by "extraordinary conditions" under which it worked throughout its mission.

"We simply disagree with the audit's conclusion that the CPA provided less than adequate controls," Whitman said.
You're kidding.

CUT TO:

EXT. IRAQI SOMETHING MINISTRY, GREEN ZONE - NIGHT

PRIVATE SECURITY FORCES (employees of "American Eagle Security") stand by as an armored vehicle backs up the loading dock of the old Iraqi Treasury Building, located in the middle of Baghdad's "Green Zone." An IRAQI DEFENSE MINISTER, wearing semi-military garb, jumps out of the truck's passenger seat. He begins to bark orders at the IRAQI SOLDIERS who are waiting on the dock's main platform. The doors of the armored vehicle swing open.

The men begin to load the vehicle with large, unmarked crates.

The Iraqi Minister winks at CAPT. JAMBO PILEDRIVER, the commander of the Private Security forces. Capt. Piledriver smiles and extinguishes his cigar on his left arm.

CAPT. PILEDRIVER - Move 'em out!

The soldiers close the doors of the armored vehicle. The Iraqi Minister jumps back into the passenger seat and gives a "thumbs up" to Lt. Piledriver. The armored vehicle moves away from the loading dock and speeds away into the night.

CUT TO:

EXT. BAGHDAD AIRPORT - NIGHT

The armored vehicle drives straight into a (heavily guarded) transport plane on the outskirts of the Baghdad airport.

INT. TRANSPORT PLANE - MOMENTS LATER

The Iraqi Minister gets out of the truck and is greeted by an Iraqi MILITARY OFFICER. The two men hug.

MILITARY OFFICER - What took you so long?

IRAQI MINISTER - Traffic on the 405 was a nightmare, yo.

The cargo doors of the gigantic transport swing shut, and the plane pulls away from the hangar.

CUT TO:

INT. FIVE STAR HOTEL - BEIRUT - NIGHT

The Iraqi Minister, a mysterious LEBANESE MAN and an AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN are smoking cigars on the deck of this hotel's "Presidential Suite." A number of HIGH END CALL GIRLS are lounging around the hotel's massive, tropical-themed pool. The Iraqi General leans over the balcony and points toward a tall, naked blonde...swimming in the pool.

IRAQI MINISTER - Now that's what I'm talking about, dog.

The men share a laugh. The American official grabs a giant glass of brandy from a female SERVANT in a French maid's outfit.

AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN - Gentlemen, a toast.

The men raise their glasses.

AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN - A toast...to opportunity.

ALL - To opportunity!

The men drink and we...

CUT TO:

An update on YESTERDAY'S story:

Ex-Iraqi DEFENCE MINISTER wanted over $1bn fraud

The plot thickens:
Iraqi authorities are preparing an arrest warrant for the country's former DEFENCE MINISTER in connection with a massive fraud case involving the "disappearance" of more than $1bn from ministry coffers.
The same guy from the above mentioned scene, Methinks.
Judge Raid al-Radhi, who is head of Iraq's commission on public integrity, said yesterday that he had given Iraq's central criminal court a dossier of evidence against Hazim Shaalan, who was minister of defence UNDER the former government of AYED ALLAWI.

"What Shaalan and his ministry were responsible for is possibly the largest robbery in the world. Our estimates begin at $1.3bn [£720m] and go up to $2.3bn," Judge Radhi, who is Iraq's senior anti-corruption official, told Reuters.

The "robbery" is believed to include the signing of multimillion-dollar deals with companies to supply equipment that was sometimes inappropriate for the new army or was years out of date. It is also alleged that the ministry paid huge premiums for some military hardware.

*

Mr Shaalan, who is understood to be living in JORDAN, has denied complicity in the scandal, saying that his actions as defence minister were ultimately the responsibility of the US AUTHORITIES in Iraq.
Hey now.

Draw your own conclusions - write your own script - talk amongst yourselves.

There's a really fucked up story out there.

(Grr.)

Wait.

Is it ONE BILLION or NINE BILLION?

"Dunno"

Right.

More Later...

1 Comments:

  • I think the missing 8.8 billion is an entirely seperate bunch of money from the missing 1.3 - 2.3 billion.

    It may be tricky for Iraq to extradite the guy from Jordan, since Ahmad Chalabi (Ali Allawi's uncle, iirc) is still wanted there for embezzling.

    By Anonymous Lancelot Link, at 1:09 AM  

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