Ewen MacAskill

A new report focusses on the huge amounts of money being wasted.

A POLICE training camp in Baghdad, with an Olympic-size swimming pool, that has never been used was on Wednesday highlighted as an example of waste by a congressional investigations team looking at billions spent on reconstruction in Iraq. The team's report, published on Wednesday, is the latest in a series of audits into $300 billion allocated by the U.S. for reconstruction in Iraq since 2003. It comes as President George W. Bush is seeking a further $1.2 billion for reconstruction in his new strategy for Iraq unveiled last month.

Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction who heads the team, said billions in U.S. aid spent on security had had limited effect.

Among many projects cited in the report is the residential camp at the Adnan palace in Baghdad for 1,040 police training staff and advisers. The original budget included $51.6 million for the camp and $36.4 million for equipment. It has never been used, the report says, on security grounds.

The work was awarded to DynCorp, a Virginia-based company that specialises in work in hostile environments, one of the top 25 recipients of federal contracts. The team recommends the government seek reimbursement from DynCorp. Its report says the State Department paid about $43.8 million "for manufacturing and temporary storage of a residential camp that has never been used, including $4.2 million for unauthorised work associated with the residential camp."

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006