By ROBERT BURNS / AP National Security Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A final U.S. government audit report on the $51 billion in taxpayer dollars spent on rebuilding Iraq after the invasion concludes that huge amounts probably were wasted. But it says it will likely never be able to determine the exact amount.
The report issued Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction blames problems including a failure to properly check contractors' invoices and too few contract overseers on the ground in Iraq during the war.
One small example: A contractor was allowed to charge $80 for a pipe fitting that a competitor was selling for $1.41.
The report says weaknesses in U.S. controls over reconstruction funds put "billions" at risk. But for reasons not spelled out in the report, it concludes that the precise amount "can never be known."