I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline for government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings to be immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used. Yet even with the disclosure of our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program, no action was taken against a single individual. Billions simply evaporate and nothing happens, even with public outcry. Now, the John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), has revealed that the government spent $43 million to build a gas station in Afghanistan that should have cost roughly $500,000. As before, it is not clear why there has not been a long list of federal officials suspended pending both potential criminal and civil charges.
Not only has Sopko found no explanation for the outrageous funding, but he has cited a pattern of stonewalling by the Administration and the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations, known as TFBSO.
TFBSO’s Downstream Gas Utilization Project set out to build a compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station in the Afghan city of Sheberghan in 2011. The the start the contract was excessive. TFBSO contracted with Central Asian Engineering for roughly $3 million buy the cost of building a similar gas station in neighboring Pakistan cost no more than $500,000.
It turns out that 600 percent increase would prove a virtual bargain when TFSBO spent $42,718,739 between 2011 and 2014 to “fund the construction and to supervise the initial operation of the CNG station,” including “approximately $12.3 million in direct costs and $30 million in overhead costs.”
Sopko could not get anyone to confirm any details on the $800 million TFBSO program, including unsuccessful efforts in seeking information from Brian McKeon, the principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Indeed, McKeon seemed to offer the bureaucratic version of a shrug. He told Sopko that “the closure of TFBSO in March 2015 and departure of all its employees have resulted in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) no longer possessing the personnel expertise to address these questions or to assess properly the TFBSO information and documentation retained by WHS in the OSD Executive Archive.” That’s it. $34 million disappears but everyone has left the building. Oh well.
Sopko also said that his office has received “numerous allegations” of criminal activity by the Task Force from former employees as well as “current and former uniformed officers who worked over there, other agencies and contractors.” Yet, the Administration seems largely uninterested in pursuing these allegations and there is no indication of a criminal investigation. Millions are ripped off from the Treasury but no one is fired or charged.
Source: FOX News