LOS ANGELES, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The Pentagon is unable to properly account for 8.7 billion dollars out of 9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to it between 2004 and 2007, it was reported on Tuesday.
Of that amount, the military failed to provide any records at all for 2.6 billion dollars in purported reconstruction expenditure, the Los Angeles Times said, quoting a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping during the war.
The audit was conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is responsible for monitoring U.S. spending in Iraq.
The rest of the money was not properly deposited in special accounts as required under Treasury Department rules, making it difficult to trace how it was spent, the newspaper said.
Though there is no apparent evidence of fraud, the improper accounting practices add to the pattern of mismanagement, reckless spending and, in some instances, corruption uncovered by the agency since 2004, when it was created to oversee the total of 53 billion dollars in U.S. taxpayer money appropriated by Congress for the reconstruction effort, the paper noted.
"The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss," the paper quoted the audit as saying.
Special Inspector General Stuart Bowen, who heads the agency, said repeated investigations have shown that "weak oversight is directly correlated to increased numbers of cases of theft and abuse."
The report comes as Iraqis are increasingly frustrated with their own government's inability to provide basic services, or to explain how tens of billions of dollars worth of oil revenue has been spent since 2007, the paper said.
"The alleged U.S. mismanagement of Iraqi money is certain to revive grievances against the U.S. for failing to make a big dent in the country's reconstruction needs despite massive expenditures, " the paper said.
Iraqis are still angry about the failure to account for a separate 8.8 billion dollars in Iraqi oil revenue spent by the U.S. -led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 and 2004.
If more money is found to be missing, "Iraq will definitely try to get it back," Ali Musawi, a media advisor to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, said in remarks published by the paper.