L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
Announcement of Inspectors General
30 March 2004
Human weakness is a permanent condition.
One need but read the Code of Hammurabi to know that people have always been
tempted to lie, cheat and steal. This is not news to any student of history or
the human condition. All societies must wrestle with the question of what to do
Hammurabi recognized that civilization requires a code of laws to deal with
inevitable temptation and crime. And thus Hammurabi earned his place in history
as the world's first great law-giver.
And as the inhabitants of Hammurabi's kingdom needed a means to deal with those
who yield to temptation or corruption, so do all of us in the modern world.
Iraqis know this as well as anyone in the world. During Saddam's regime Iraqi
children attended dilapidated schools and sought treatment in clinics with no
medicine. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein, his family and friends indulged in a
Pharonic excess of palaces and collections of expensive cars.
The wake of Saddam's corruption is long and wide. Now, almost a year after
liberation we are just beginning to understand the outline of the theft and
corruption associated with the Oil for Food program. Both the United Nations and
the Iraqi Governing Council have begun investigations into a program initiated
to help the Iraqi people instead allegedly diverted Iraq's money to other,
possibly illicit, uses.
In order to facilitate these investigations, two weeks ago I ordered that all
Iraqi official records in any department or ministry which might pertain to the
Oil for Food program administration, sales or purchases be identified,
inventoried and secured. The Coalition Provision Authority will do all we can to
facilitate these investigations.
Never again should the Iraqi people's wealth be squandered on palaces and
Ferraris. Never again should such corruption be allowed to take root.
Ladies and gentlemen, the theft of government property is a particularly odious
crime because government property is the people's property. In a democracy money
raised from lawfully imposed taxes should be used for the people's benefit as
determined by their representatives. That money is held in trust for the people
of Iraq by their government. It is not there to ease the lives of government
officials or political leaders.
And Iraqis, you the people, know the threat of corruption is real. In
conversations with hundreds of Iraqis since liberation, I have heard that
stamping out corruption is one of the people's greatest concerns and I agree.
Fighting government corruption is important in any country, but doubly important
today in Iraq. If public officials steal or abuse their position here they are
not just stealing, they are undermining confidence in the new Iraq's democratic
One way to track corruption and waste is to ensure that each and every Iraqi
ministry has an independent Inspector General. This person must be authorized to
investigate allegations against anyone in the Ministry, including the Minister.
And, where he finds evidence of crimes, the Inspector General must be able to
refer cases to Iraq's independent judiciary. This is the system I have
determined to set up in Iraq.
Thus, Iraq's new Inspectors General have a special responsibility. They will be
protecting not just the people's money, but the people's faith in their
The Inspectors General will not be alone in their efforts to protect the public
from corruption. I am creating two additional independent, but cooperating
agencies which will work with the Inspectors General.
The Inspectors General will work with The Commission on Public Integrity and
revitalized Board of Supreme Audit.
Working together, the Board, the Inspectors General and the Commission, form an
integrated approach intended to combat corruption at every level of government
across the country.
Although all three elements are important, the Inspectors General have a unique
opportunity to serve their fellow citizens. Seldom does mismanagement, waste,
fraud or abuse occur in government without people in the relevant ministry
knowing about it. That means that a hard-working Inspector General will have an
excellent opportunity to expose corruption.
Best of all, an active Inspector General helps honest people stay honest. An
active inspections program lets people know that waste, fraud or abuse, are
likely to be detected and those responsible are likely to be punished-- and that
This program has already begun. As of today, I have already appointed 21
Inspectors General and I expect to name the remaining Inspectors General within
the next few days.
Man's ancient tendency towards self-enrichment has not been overcome, but a
comprehensive system using individuals dedicated to discovering waste, fraud,
abuse and mismanagement will reduce the temptation for many and help ensure that
the corrupt few receive the punishments their crimes deserve. I mentioned that I
have appointed 21 Inspectors General and I am very pleased to have several of
them here today.
Along with the Transitional Administrative Law, the appointment of these
Inspectors General represents yet another milepost on Iraq's progression to
sovereignty, elections and democracy, to a future of hope for all Iraqis.
Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.