unmarketing : release the pressure

Friday, June 03, 2005 at 2:17:00 PM

where's the money, Oh Glorious Government?

Reuters: Iraq rebuilding lags, security eats precious funds

U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen sees himself as a "taxpayer watchdog" entrusted to verify whether money appropriated by Congress to rebuild Iraq is spent wisely.

Asked whether he thought rebuilding was properly under way and funds were being spent as Congress intended, the former White House lawyer said: "No," largely because so much money had been diverted to security, forcing projects to be scaled back.

There has also been evidence of corruption in some U.S.-funded deals. As of April 11, his office had received 131 potential criminal cases, and of these 62 have been closed, 35 referred to other agencies and 34 remain open.

"The big ones are yet to unfold ... We are talking tens of millions of dollars and not just thousands," he said in an interview with Reuters, declining to provide further details of ongoing investigations.

I've done some searching on Stuart Bowen Jr., and I'm starting to like this guy.

IRAQ: Iraq Sues A.P. Moeller-Maersk on Reconstruction Performance and Alleged Mismanagement of Port

The office of Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in a report to U.S. Congress last month that it's investigating 34 separate cases of irregularities in the U.S.-managed reconstruction contracts, including instances of fraud, bribery and bid rigging. His initial review of contracting data in Iraq indicates the federal government doesn't have one organization with the ``big picture'' about how reconstruction money is being spent, Bowen said in a May 9 e-mailed statement.

Bowen's office said it had no record of the original Maersk contract being awarded by the U.S. Army, when contacted by Bloomberg on May 23.

A.P. Moeller, controlled by Maersk Mc-Kinney Moeller, 91, posted a record profit in 2004 when net income jumped 41 percent to 24.5 billion Danish kroner ($4.3 billion), and sales rose 5.7 percent to 166 billion kroner. Its shares have gained 44 percent over the last year to close at 54,400 kroner on Friday, May 27.

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