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Contracting in Afghanistan

Friday, December 18, 2009; A04

Federal auditors have identified more than $950 million in "questioned and unsupported" costs submitted by Defense Department contractors. The figure excludes potential waste from contracts with other departments or agencies, such as USAID. The following are some of the cases of waste, fraud and abuse:

-- A $305 million project to increase power generation in Afghanistan was expected to produce 140 megawatts of additional electrical power in Kabul and two provinces. The project produced only 12 megawatts of power and resulted in cost overruns of at least $39 million.

-- A four-year, $102 million contract to improve agricultural production and efficiency in rural Afghanistan failed to comply with some contract requirements. Buildings constructed for the Agriculture Ministry were found to have serious defects, including improperly installed floors and tiles, wrong fuses in the electrical system and settlement cracks.

-- A program created to provide military commanders with funds to spend on small-scale projects to address humanitarian and reconstruction needs has instead been used mostly to fund large-scale projects; in some cases, managers were unable to determine whether projects had been completed.

SOURCE: Senate Homeland Security

and Government Affairs subcommittee

on contracting oversight

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