Author Topic: How one inspector general is fighting fraud and waste in Afghanistan  (Read 206 times)

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Offline flowers

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http://theweek.com/article/index/253258/how-one-inspector-general-is-fighting-fraud-and-waste-in-afghanistan

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There is one oversight mechanism in place in Afghanistan that has been enormously effective in uncovering egregious irresponsibility on the part of the Departments of State and Defense, as well as international aid offices and the Afghan National Army and government. The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is an independent body designed to peek around at the $96.57 billion dollars appropriated thus far to Afghanistan's reconstruction. This is more than spreadsheet scrutiny (though they do check the numbers with insane precision); auditors are deployed across Afghanistan to see with their own eyes what's going on, and report their findings back to Washington. The present SIGAR is John Sopko, who does his job so well that it's hard to believe he's been allowed to keep it.

What have they discovered? To choose from only recent findings, the office reported last month that the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan — the group in charge of training and developing the Afghan security forces — couldn't account for $230 million in spare parts it had ordered. Meanwhile, another $130 million parts were ordered without anyone knowing if the parts were on-hand or not. As it turns out, the Afghan National Army isn't keeping accurate records of which parts it has in stock, and because the spigot in Washington blasts money as though it were through a fire hose, whenever they need a new part, they just order it and send you the bill. [Full report: PDF]

In a different release, the SIGAR reported that in at least one case, you were paying $500/gallon for diesel fuel. (The market price cap for diesel in Afghanistan is $5/gallon.) You might be surprised to learn that Sayed Bilal Sadath Construction Company, the contractor who received the $300,000 overpayment, hasn't sent it back. And why would they? They were paid $200,000 for thermostats only worth $2,000, and nobody complained. But here's my favorite part. Sayed Bilal Sadath Construction Company received this money for a contract to build a small, 100-bed hospital in Gardez, Afghanistan — an unfinished hospital that is almost two years behind schedule. Don't worry about it, though. The Afghan government has warned that it might not be able to use the hospital anyway, as its operation and maintenance costs are five times more than the hospital it's supposed to replace. [Full report: PDF]

All of this would be terrific news — not the fraud and waste, but the highly effective crusader charged with finding it — if not for one insurmountable obstacle: Security in Afghanistan is abysmal. The "graveyard of empires" is a dangerous place, and Sopko's brave men and women are limited to what are called "oversight bubbles" — places where security can be provided and emergency medical care dispatched. By next year, SIGAR predicts it will only have access to 21 percent of the country. This is very good news if you are the Afghan National Army, diving like Scrooge McDuck into a money bin of our creation. Likewise for government contractors who've made a habit of taking the money and running.


Offline Ford289HiPo

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Re: How one inspector general is fighting fraud and waste in Afghanistan
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 07:42:03 AM »
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In a different release, the SIGAR reported that in at least one case, you were paying $500/gallon for diesel fuel. (The market price cap for diesel in Afghanistan is $5/gallon.) You might be surprised to learn that Sayed Bilal Sadath Construction Company, the contractor who received the $300,000 overpayment, hasn't sent it back. And why would they? They were paid $200,000 for thermostats only worth $2,000, and nobody complained. But here's my favorite part. Sayed Bilal Sadath Construction Company received this money for a contract to build a small, 100-bed hospital in Gardez, Afghanistan — an unfinished hospital that is almost two years behind schedule. Don't worry about it, though. The Afghan government has warned that it might not be able to use the hospital anyway, as its operation and maintenance costs are five times more than the hospital it's supposed to replace.

The main issue here is that bean counters are counting everything coming from the US, and ignoring products purchased in Europe (for example). Yes, transportation costs do add up, and so does the pay for those little third-world drivers who transport the goods through hostile territory,but can we really accept that a gallon of diesel is running $500?.
IMO, the major problem is the Paki's. They've been gouging us for the past 12 years. After that comes the Afghani's themselves. Karzai seems to think he's in charge and puts customs charges on everything coming into, or departing from A-stan, to include war materials.   

Oh...the hospital? Some whiz-kid thinks it's a good idea to build a hospital and equip it with all the latest, greatest medical "stuff". The Afghani's don't have the infrastructure to support the logistics of re-supplying it, nor do they have the knowledge to repair or use a lot of the equipment we leave them.


I wonder when the lies will stop and truth begin, even as grim as the truth may be. And then I remember that for 70 years, the reign of terror in Russia called itself "the people's government." We have so far to fall, yet we are falling fast and Hell yawns to receive us.


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