At the start of this Blog site (last December, 2004), I repeatedly ventured to ask:- "The CPA flew the coup in June 2004. Who is in charge of Iraqi oil money for the past six months?" Halli Baba
(December 9, 2004)- "Who is in charge of the money from the Iraqi oil sales since the US gift of Iraqi 'sovereignty'?" Where is the Iraqi oil money ?
(December 13, 2004)- "By the way, where is the money from the sale of Iraqi oil for the past eight months?" Oil-for-Food is now Oil-for-Grease
, (December 27, 2004)Before his departure to Baghdad in the previous month (November, 2004), I had corresponded with Hussain al-Shahrastani, who is now Vice Chairman of the 'Iraqi Parliament', and pointedly asked him, as he was departing to Iraq, "Do you know where the Iraqi oil money is going?" He admitted that he did not know. I humbly requested that he might find out, once he gets there; and would he kindly inform us who are concerned about the scale of corruption that is becoming apparently rampant in Iraq's ministries? The request was ignored.In exasperation, I posted the question again:
- "Where is the Iraqi oil money? After Bremer squirmed out of Iraq, auditors have lost trail of 9 billion dollars (out of 20 billion dollars, that included oil sales, that belonged to Iraq). I have been asking this question for months now: where is the money from Iraqi oil sales going to, since Bremer's departure? Will some of it end up with those 'Iraqis' who came behind the American tanks when they will be scurrying out of Iraq in a hurry? I would appreciate it if somebody would inform me on the money's fate." Iraqi oil (sp)oil .... and it may well get spoiled
(February 15, 2005)The answer, apparently, is in, and not from al-Shahrastani:
"Iraqi officials cannot explain what happened to $69 million worth of fuel oil produced in the second half of 2004, raising fears that it was smuggled out of the country for private gain, according to a report released yesterday by United Nations-appointed auditors.
The report, by the auditing firm KPMG, said Iraq's recorded exports of fuel oil mysteriously declined by a comparable amount during that same period of 2004, the initial months of sovereignty for the newly installed Iraqi government.
Studying records from the Ministry of Oil, the auditors found that Iraq's production in that six-month period exceeded the recorded domestic uses and exports by 618,203 tons, worth about $69 million.
.... In particular, it has questioned a $2.2 billion contract the Pentagon gave, secretly and without competitive bidding, to a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation to start repairs of Iraqi oil fields and to import consumer fuels. The international monitoring bureau says the Pentagon has rebuffed requests for a full accounting of that contract, which used Iraqi money.The international board has also warned, and it repeated in a statement yesterday, that the new Iraqi government is ripe for corruption because its ministries lack sound procedures for accounting and oversight.
(emphasis added) The discussion in the new report of the missing fuel oil is an unusually specific description of what the monitoring board in its press release called the "possible misappropriation of oil revenues."Iraq Can't Explain $69 Million In Fuel Oil From '04, Audit Says
, New York Times, May 24, 2005Don't fret. The savior is at hand:
"A month into a new job as a deputy prime minister in the new Shiite-led government, [Ahmed Chalabi] set off on a nearly 400-mile road trip across northern and central Iraq. His purpose was to stamp his authority on the country's troubled northern oilfields, in his capacity as the overseer of energy in the new government."Another Anxious Journey for Chalabi: Across the Iraq Insurgency's Heartland
May 31, 2005Just a reminder:Oil .. and with Ahmad Chalabi as acting Oil Minister : "He trusted the cat with a piece of fat" - An Iraqi proverb
(April 28, 2005 when he was first appointed as Acting Oil Minister)Guess why he is smiling?An Update:A concurrent report on this issue (in Arabic) أين ذهبت أموال الشعب العراقي؟
May 2, 2005