- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Like a replay of the Great Depression, a bank in Iraq went under in 2010, nearly taking millions of American dollars with it.

The Al-Warka Bank was already having stability problems when the U.S. began to close all its accounts as part of the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Then the bank faltered, and the Army lost $6.5 million.

“Since the Al-Warka Bank was placed in receivership in November 2010, the Army has been unable to readily withdraw cash,” said the Pentagon’s internal inspector general in a new report.

The top brass is only now learning of the loss because the disbursing officer in charge of the funds never reported the loss, the IG said, “because she believed she would recover these funds in the future.”

About $1.1 million has been repaid so far by the bank, inspectors said, but not getting the proper Defense Department debt payment experts involved immediately puts the rest of the cash at risk.

“As a result of not reporting a loss of funds, the risk of losing the remaining balance of $5.4 million increased,” investigators said.

Army officials said that the disbursement officer and several other individuals have been reassigned to new posts, and that the U.S. Army Financial Management Command is working to recover the money.


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