September 24, 2008
A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (¬£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.
The BBC’s Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding.
A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.
The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.
While Presdient George W Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.
To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.
The president’s Democratic opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.
Henry Waxman, who chairs the House committee on oversight and government reform, said: “The money that’s gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, it’s egregious.
“It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history.”
In the run-up to the invasion, one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth $7bn that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.
Unusually only Halliburton got to bid – and won.