Learning from Iraq, an extensive report released by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction estimates that $800 million is unlawfully transferred out of Iraq every week. Between 2005-2010 alone Iraq's illicit financial outflows amounted to $63.6 billion. The report is the result of a decade of investigation into reconstruction that identified wholesale corruption.

The report details that despite coalition officials pouring $60 billion into reconstruction projects, life for the average Iraqi citizen has not yet improved and basic public services such as clean water, schools, hospitals and electricity remain lacking.

In one highlighted case, senior US military officials were involved in a money laundering scheme which led to eight convictions. The officials were found guilty of awarding construction contracts to a company who provided over $8.6 million in gifts and kickbacks but experienced significant building delays.

Driven by the huge levels of US investment, corruption reached previously unseen levels over the past decade. However, to rebuild functioning state institutions, it will be important that Iraq takes steps to control such rampant waste and mismanagement in the future.