• Insurgency Supporters Netting Millions From Army For Incomplete Work, Fraud

    The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has issued a shocking quarterly report, detailing how the Army refuses to disbar insurgency supporters from government contracts.

    Although SIGAR has been working tirelessly to suspend and disbar contractors for fraud or non-performance, the Army has remained uncooperative in denying supporters of the insurgency the right to obtain government contracts.

    “I remain troubled by the fact that our government can and does use classified information to arrest, detain, and even kill individuals linked to the insurgency in Afghanistan, but apparently refuses to use the same classified information to deny those same individuals their right to obtain contracts with the U.S. government,” said John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

    “There is no logic to this continuing disparity,” Sopko added. “I continue to urge the Secretary of Defense and Congress to change this misguided policy and to impose common sense on the Army’s suspension and debarment program.”

    Not once has this problem been fixed by the Secretary of Defense or by Congress over the last six quarterly reports issued by SIGAR. This quarter alone, SIGAR sent over to other agencies the details of 44 individuals and 13 companies to add to the ever-growing list of contractors who either openly engage in fraud or refuse to fulfill their contractual obligations.

    The contracts were valued at an unbelievable amount of $398,445,878. The number of referrals for fraud and nonperformance since 2008 totaled 547, composed of 292 individuals and 255 companies. For 12 months leading up to October 1, 2014, financial support to insurgents amounted to $938,908,042.

    After all of SIGAR’s efforts, only 84 suspensions have taken place. Exactly 218 entities have been debarred from construction projects funded by the U.S. government. These referrals are based on complete SIGAR investigations, but agencies have been notorious in declining to take any action, prompting SIGAR to resend reports multiple times. Referrals have exploded since 2011, skyrocketing from almost zero in the second quarter of 2011 to roughly 550 in the fourth quarter of 2014.

    Three main problems prevent lowering the number of deadbeat contractors. First is the contracting environment, second is lack of U.S. jurisdiction over Afghans, and third is the lack of a proper vetting process for layers of subcontractors.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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