Global Policy Forum

Watchdog: US Dragging Feet on Halliburton Audits

May 27, 2004

Two months since it asked the United States to turn over audits of contracts funded with Iraqi oil money and awarded to Halliburton without competitive bidding, an international watchdog agency said Tuesday that it was still waiting for the documents. The International Advisory and Monitoring Board, a watchdog set up by the UN Security Council to oversee spending by the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq's oil and gas money, asked for the audit reports in March when it learned of the contracts that were awarded without competition in 2003.

The board is considering doing its own audit of the contracts, which were funded from the Development Fund for Iraq, an account set up by the Security Council to hold the proceeds from Iraqi oil sales. It asked the U.S-led Coalition Provisional Authority to provide the audit reports "expeditiously," including those conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

On April 23, the board said it had followed up its request with the CPA, which was working with U.S. government agencies to obtain the copies. On Tuesday, the board signaled it was losing patience, stating in a press release that it "looks forward to the imminent receipt of the audits on sole-sources contracts being conducted by U.S. government agencies." The board said in April the provisional authority had stopped awarding contracts without competitive bidding in January "as a general rule."

Halliburton, the Texas oil services firm once headed by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, has been accused by some Democrats of war profiteering after winning billions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. military in Iraq. The advisory board, which includes the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations, also said Tuesday that an audit by accounting firm KPMG of the development fund "was largely on track" to be completed by June 30, when the U.S. plans to hand over control to an interim Iraqi government.

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