Senior US military commanders are being investigated over corruption in a 125-billion-dollar project to reconstruct war-torn Iraq.
According to the court records, investigators subpoenaed the personal bank records of a retired US Army officer, Col. Anthony Bell, who was in charge of reconstruction contracting in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, the New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, the activities of Air Force Lt. Col. Ronald Hirtle, who was a senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004 were also examined, two federal officials involved in the probe inquiry announced. Yet officials say that several criminal cases over the past few years point to widespread corruption in the operation the men helped to run.
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The federal authorities were earlier provided with some information given to them by an American arms dealer and contractor, Dale Stoffel who was shot dead in Iraq in late 2004. Stoffel’s information immunized him from prosecution, government documents obtained by New York Times suggest.
Prosecutors have won 35 convictions on cases related to reconstruction in Iraq, yet most of them involved private contractors or midlevel officials. The investigators involved in the probe say that the current inquiry is aiming at higher-level officials.