[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 28 June, 2004, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
'Failure to account' for Iraq cash
Iraq oil refinery
Iraq has some of the world's biggest proven oil reserves
Iraqi money cannot be accounted for by occupying forces responsible for the funds, according to two new reports.

Discrepancies are highlighted in the handling of $20bn (11bn) generated from Iraq's oil and other sources since war ended last year.

The Coalition Provisional Authority was given responsibility for the country's finances by the United Nations.

The UN stressed that money in the Development Fund for Iraq must be shown to be used in Iraq's best interests.

It was understood that all revenues would be paid into a central fund.

Criticism

But both the charity Christian Aid and the Liberal Democrats are now criticising the CPA, saying no audit of how the money was used had been carried out until April of this year - two months before the handover of power.

Christian Aid described the information regarding the allocation of money as "woefully inadequate".

On 29 May, the CPA revealed $19.4bn (10.7bn) had been paid into the DFI and spent on a wheat purchase programme, electricity and oil infrastructure programmes and equipment for Iraqi security forces, among other purchases.

Shortfall

The Coalition said $10bn (5.5bn) of the total sum came from oil revenues.

But, according to the Lib Dems, there is a shortfall of up to $3.7bn (2.03bn) between the amount of oil revenue earned and the money paid into the DFI by the CPA.

Iraq's oil resources generate billions of dollars each year and both studies insist it is not known how that money has been spent.

Helen Collinson, from Christian Aid, said: "For the entire year that the CPA has been in power in Iraq it has been impossible to tell with any accuracy what the CPA has been doing with Iraq's money."

In a separate study, the Liberal Democrats said the CPA was obliged to pay all oil revenues into the DFI, but there appears to be a significant disparity.

This apparent discrepancy requires full investigation.
Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary

According to CPA figures, the DFI had received $10.8bn (5.9bn) for oil revenue by 21 June this year.

But research by the Lib Dems suggests oil revenues stand between $12.2bn (6.7bn) and $14.5bn (7.96bn).

Christian Aid put the figure at $13bn (7.1bn).

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell, said: "This apparent discrepancy requires full investigation."

Power transfer

"Without concrete accounts from the CPA and the Iraqi transitional administration, questions will remain about how much has actually been earned and how much should rightfully be in the DFI."

The two studies will be published to coincide with the transfer of power on Wednesday.

Both investigations call on the CPA to reveal full details of expenditure and urge the British Government to exert some influence over the issue.

They also demand that a transparent system of financial accountability is put in place by the new Iraqi Government.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific