A total of $23bn (£11.75bn) is under scrutiny. The US justice department has imposed gagging orders which prevent the real scale of the problem emerging. But Panorama’s Jane Corbin has spoken to some of those involved – with astonishing stories to tell of who got rich and who got burned.
She hears allegations of mismanagement, fraud and waste; tales of contractors chosen for their US government connections without a competitive bidding process; contractors inflating their costs and double counting to increase their profits and billions supposed to be used to rebuild the Iraqi military allegedly ending up in the pockets of some Iraqi government officials.
Even the contract to oversee the expenditure went to a company with no relevant qualification in accounting. “They are the quintessential war profiteers,” said a witness to one of the most notorious companies involved. “They made money out of chaos.”