By Debbie Gregory.
Corruption hardly topped the threat list when United States military forces and civilians first entered Afghanistan in 2001. But as the United States government spendt billions to rebuild the war torn country, some of it is bound to be misspent or end up in the wrong pockets.
Out of the $117 billion earmarked to rebuild Afghanstan, John Sopko, the head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), has identified nearly $1 billion in questionable costs and funds that could be put to better use. An additional $1 billion has been recovered for American taxpayers in fines, restitution, recoveries and cost savings.
Our government has committed to another $5 billion to $6 billion per year through 2020.
Sopko’s investigation has led to 105 SIGAR arrests, resulting in109 convictions and guilty pleas.
Considering the massive number of military members, the actual number of bad apples is extremely low.
There were four military members arrested for creating 114 false requests for fuel supply missions and selling the gas on the black market, racking up about $10 million in losses, according to documents provided by SIGAR spokeswoman Jennifer George-Nichol.
Two Special Forces members skimmed nearly $215,000 by inflating construction bids and altering receipts between November 2009 and December 2010.
Sopko thinks that the massive influx of United Stataes aid, contractors and military funding with “too little oversight” significantly complicated already severe corruption in Afghanistan.
Sopko was sworn in on July 2, 2012. He has more than thirty years of experience in oversight and investigations as a prosecutor, congressional counsel, and senior federal government adviser.
Taxpayers have already provided more than $70 billion to build up security forces in Afghanistan, including training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Army, police and air force. Additionally, we pay for their equipment, training, food, fuel, weapons and base infrastructure.
Please tell us what you think about this corruption. We encourage anyone with information of corruption to report it to the proper authorities because we all pay for it.