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Strong anti-corruption agencies needed in Iraq, US investigator reports

[JURIST] Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction [official website], said that corruption continues to cost Iraq billions of dollars each year and has called for an American-Iraqi summit in the fight against corruption in Iraq, in a report to Congress [PDF text] released Sunday. Bowen said that it is crucial that the US support new anti-corruption agencies in Iraq, arguing that "[c]reating an effective anti-corruption structure within Iraq's government is essential to the long-term success of Iraq's fledgling democracy." The report was released shortly after the United Nations found that 2,200 companies made illicit payments totaling $1.8 billion [JURIST report] to Saddam Hussein's government under the now defunct UN oil-for-food program [JURIST news archive]. Bowen's report notes that investigators have garnered evidence in investigations involving fraud, bribery and kickbacks, however, no information on potential indictments has yet been released. Reuters has more.

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