Almost five billion dollars of the Islamic Republic’s money is missing, says the Director of the Supreme Audit Court of Iran (SAC), Adel Azar.
Based on the official rate of 42,000 rials for one dollar, the Islamic Republic government distributes billions of cheap dollars among local importers to buy essential goods from overseas. Many of these importers are politically well-connected individuals.
Nevertheless, according to the SAC director, Adel Azar, $4.8 billion has been distributed, but no goods and products have been imported. The cheap dollars provided by the government for imports is in effect a subsidy.
However, Azar stopped short of naming the companies that received the missing dollars and did not mention what products were supposed to be imported with the money.
Speaking to a public session of Majles (Iranian parliament) on Tuesday, April 14, Azar disclosed that the government had distributed a total of $31 billion, on the official rate, to import essential goods to the country.
Following a steep devaluation of Iran’s currency, the government decided to sell dollars to importers at a preferential rate, so important necessities would continue flowing into the country.
On April 9, 2018, at the end of an extraordinary meeting of Government's Economic Headquarters presided over by President Hassan Rouhani to discuss currency fluctuations, Vice President, Es’haq Jahangiri, ensured businesses and citizens that their currency needs would be met with dollars priced at the official rate of 42,000 rials, while on the local free exchange market foreign currencies had doubled in value.
Nonetheless, the promise was never fulfilled. Later, the government said that the official rate for the dollar would exclusively be used for importing primary goods and products.
In the meantime, Adel Azar disclosed today that an unknown number of public employees are receiving "astronomical salaries".
There are still officials whose monthly salaries are more than $12,000 a month, whereas such astronomical salaries are against the SAC regulations, Adel Azar asserted.
SAC report also shows that $2.76 billion, based on the official rate, have been spent on importing goods, such as dental floss, dolls, light bulbs, body-building devices, ice cream, and mattresses, which are not essential goods.