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US Defense Department investigators to press Iraq reconstruction fraud penalties

[JURIST] US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) [official website] Stuart Bowen told the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that investigators will be employing stricter standards when dealing with companies performing contract work in Iraq that engage in war profiteering. During the committee hearing [materials], Bowen testified [prepared statement] that the "SIGIR will do everything in its power to do more to deter crime and to uncover and prosecute those who have taken advantage of the difficult situation in Iraq to criminally enrich themselves." Bowen stated that stronger punishments need to be used against those who engage in misconduct, including the imposition of larger fines and the removal of security clearances.

Bowen reported that 16 people have been convicted for fraud and kickbacks received in connection with the Iraq reconstruction. Last year, the US named a former Iraqi Minister of Electricity as one of the officials charged with such corruption [JURIST report]. According to a report issued by SIGIR in October, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. had been misusing federal regulations [JURIST report] to shield data from the public. AP has more.

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