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Cablegate: Diyala Prt: Compensation Payments-Still Waiting

VZCZCXRO4470
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3727/01 3170849
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130849Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4316
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 003727

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: DIYALA PRT: COMPENSATION PAYMENTS-STILL WAITING

1. (U) This is a Diyala PRT reporting cable.

Summary
-------
2. (U) In August 2007, as operation Arrowhead Ripper came to a
close in Diyala, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Barham Salah visited
the province. After surveying the damage he promised that USD 50
million would be made available to repair the homes of those with
damaged property. To date, administrative roadblocks, bureaucratic
bungling, fraud and corruption have delayed the process, and no
compensation payments have been processed. With colder weather
approaching, the need for installation of new windows, walls, and
doors is imperative, but the prospects for progress are unclear.
End Summary.

Widespread Damage
-----------------
3. (U) Although no definitive figures have been gathered, the
widespread destruction of real estate as a result of Arrowhead
Ripper operations is apparent when traveling in Diyala. Provincial
authorities estimated that most families who filed a claim would be
eligible for approximately USD 5,000 to repair their homes.

The Plan
--------
4. (U) When approached in late September, the Deputy Governor
(DGOV) of Diyala, Auwf Rahoumi Majeed Khudayer Al-Rubay'i, stated
that no forms for compensation would be generated or distributed
until the funds had been transferred to Diyala, because he feared
raising citizens' hopes and then disappointing them. The PRT urged
and ultimately convinced DGOV Auwf to prepare and distribute claim
forms in order to determine if the original funds promised would be
sufficient to cover the needs of the claimants. DGOV Auwf was the
executive agent for this action because Governor Ra'ad Rasheed
Hameed Al-Tamimi was recuperating after being injured in an
assassination attempt. (COMMENT: The PRT had earlier assessed that
without an estimate of the amount of currency required, the Central
Bank would not ship funds to Diyala END COMMENT.)

Bureaucracy In Action
---------------------
5. (U) DGOV Auwf and his staff prepared the forms from scratch
after several long meetings. The resulting documents required the
property owner to gather no less than six different signatures,
starting at the neighborhood level and moving up through several
local officials. The purpose of the document was to verify both
ownership of the property in question and the degree of damage to
it. The forms also requested photographs of the damaged property.
The authorities applied several signatures and stamps to the
documents in advance, making reproduction more difficult. (COMMENT:
The document security measures also had the unfortunate side effect
of making the forms a controlled item, opening the door for official
corruption to limit access to them. END COMMENT.) The executive
staff of the province also invested time planning for extra Iraqi
Police (IP) coverage of the Governance Center (GC) during the payout
process to protect citizens carrying large amounts of cash. The
forms were shipped to various cities throughout the province with
the expectation that they would be completed within a few weeks and
returned.

The Best Laid Plans
-------------------
6. (U) As soon as Ramadan ended, the provincial authorities began
to receive compensation claims. A review of the completed forms
indicated that the forms security measures were of little effect
because the signing officials did not actually view the damage or
certify ownership of the property. Multiple owners of the same
property, duplicate photographs associated with different
properties, and the sale of forms to claimants were among the
fraudulent practices identified. The office of the DGOV quickly
realized the susceptibility of claims forms to fraud, and decided to
stop accepting the forms. No action has been taken against those
who filed fraudulent forms to date. Also, there have been no reports
of officials being reprimanded or fired for selling the forms or
signing them without seeing the property.

Do Over or Time Out?
--------------------
7. (U) A new streamlined form still under revision requires IP
verification of the damage claimed and a certified copy of the deed
to the property in question. Photographs will still be requested to
process the claim. It is unclear when the provincial government
will ship the new forms and the Central Bank has still not yet
released any of the promised currency, despite promising to have it
shipped to the GC on 21 October.

Comment
-------
8. (U) In Baquba and other cities the need for compensation is
clear. Homes have gaping holes in the walls, missing doors, and no
windows. What is also clear is that the small businesses that
supply lumber, bricks, reinforced iron bars, cement, glass and paint

BAGHDAD 00003727 002 OF 002


are open and doing business. To avoid more suffering and increased
disenchantment with the government, it is imperative that the GOI
get the money into the hands of citizens before the weather turns
colder. To delay compensation only increases the risk of greater
unrest.

CROCKER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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