US audit report reveals more waste in Afghanistan
By Sadaf Shinwari - Wed Dec 19 2012, 2:08 pm
A US watch audit on Tuesday revealed almost $13 million in equipment designed to upgrade Afghanistan’s creaking power grid has been left mothballed in storage for lack of an installation plan, AFP reported.
Furthermore State Department’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has also found that that the work for national power untility which was given to a contractor against $5.76 million was never carried out.
The report by Inspector General John Sopko said, “Almost $12.8 million in equipment purchased to meet urgent needs in support of the counterinsurgency strategy is sitting unused in storage… without a clear plan for installation.”
According to the report the equipment which was dispatched in March has been stored at a US Army Corps of Engineers base in southern city fo Kandahar province on wooden palettes.
the report also said the installation work is pending a clear plan and there are also concerns that manufacturer’s two-year warranty on the electricity meters could run out before the equipment is installed.
In his letter to Genneral John Allen commander of the NATO troops for Afghanistan John Sopko said he had audited US efforts to help the Afghan power utility, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat.
He said the contractor Louis Berger Group Inc/Black & Veatch were paid millions of dollars to provide training and technical assistance to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat however 76 percent of the work was never completed, including “a draft and final meter installation plan, procurement and installation of 231 boundary meters, and a transition manual and handover plan.”
Sopko wrote, the two findings “warrant immediate attention prior to issuing a final report in early 2013.”
According to reports around $88 million have been spent by United States since 2009 to improve and modernize the Afgan power grid. Also United States vowed to provide $157 million between 2013-2016 in a bid to rebuild a fully developed power grid which was destroyed during the three decades of war.
The report also suggested to draw up a plan after determiing whether the equipment can be used in Kandahar.
It said the head of the US Agency for International Development mission in Afghanistan should assess the work done by the contractor LBG/BV and seek any reimbursement of funds due.