The US government spent more than $2.4 billion on capital assets that were unused or abandoned, were not used for their intended purposes, had deteriorated, or were destroyed, a US watchdog says in a new report released on Feb. 24. 

US watchdog in its report says, United States has spent more than 2.4 billion on unused or abandoned capital assets.

US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported that of nearly $7.8 billion in capital assets $2.4 billion is wasted and had not been used for intended purposes, the assets remained unused, abandoned, or were destroyed.

According to SIGAR more than $1.2 billion out of the $7.2 billion in assets were used as intended, and $343.2 million out of the $7.8 billion were maintained in good shape.

SIGAR stratified sample of 60 assets, costing $792.1 million from loss of all funded capital assets evaluated in its prior reports for a follow-up assessment to collect more recent data about assets’ use and condition.

 SIGAR found that 37 of the 60 capital assets inspected were being used as intended, including several that were previously unused or abandoned.  

The US watchdog’s findings indicated that 37 of the 60 capital assets are used as intended, Ten of which were used but not as intended, nine were unused or abandoned and three are still under construction.

An additional 50 capital assets had deteriorated or continued to deteriorate since their last assessment, SIGAR reported.

91 percent of total costs of all 60 assets in the sample went towards assets that were not used abandoned, deteriorated, or destroyed.

The defects were found in the assets and major infrastructural damages were also reported, around 213 sites had issues like structural damage to exterior war, siding, roofs, window and door damages, missing hardware, damaged lights and other electrical issues, defected wiring increased risk of electrocution and fire, broken and missing appliances, lack of heavy machinery, water damage (mildew or mold), broken and leaky pipes, damaged bathroom fixtures and many blocked drains.

Based on prior reports and the 60 follow-up inspections, SIGAR identified the five most common reasons why capital assets were generally not used. 

The most common reason found after 60 follow-up inspections was that money spent on capital assets was wasted and that afghan beneficiary lacked the resources or capabilities they needed to operate and maintain these assets.

Special Inspector General John F. Sopko said in the report that “SIGAR’s work reveals a pattern of US agencies pouring too much money, too quickly, into a country too small to absorb it.”

“The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated, or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects.

“The lesson of all of this is two-fold. If the United States is going to pay for reconstruction or development in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world, first make certain the recipient wants it, needs it, and can sustain it. Secondly, make certain before you spend the money there is proper oversight to prevent this type of waste,” he added.

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