Nearly $19 billion of US money was lost in more than a decade of war in Afghanistan to fraud, waste and abuse, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction's (SIGAR) said in a new report.
As of Dec 2019, the US Congress appropriated nearly $134 billion since Fiscal Year 2002 for Afghanistan reconstruction. Of that amount, SIGAR reviewed approx. $63 billion and found that nearly $19 billion of amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse, the report said.
SIGAR identified approx. $1.8 billion in waste, fraud, and abuse between January 2018, and December 2019 in its 111 audits, inspections, and special projects reports, and in 55 closed investigations.
SIGAR’s work through December 31, 2019, resulted in about $3.2 billion in savings for US taxpayers, the group claims.
Most of the losses were attributed to failed counternarcotics and stabilization programs, the report said in a report published Tuesday.
This report adds nearly $3.4 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse to the previously reported amount based on a review of SIGAR’s published products and closed investigations. Of this total, SIGAR specifically identified approximately $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds that the group believe was wasted, $300 million that was lost to fraud, and $34 million that was lost due to abuse. The remaining $1.6 billion was allocated to counternarcotics efforts and the group believes was wasted.
"More than $3 billion was lost in the past two years alone," the report said.
And this was on top of "some $15.5 billion that was lost between 2009 and 2017, "representing nearly a third of all the expenditures SIGAR has reviewed in the years since it was created in 2008 to track US taxpayer dollars spent in Afghanistan," the report said.
Ninety percent of the losses were caused by waste, which the report defined as “the act of using or expending resources carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose."
One specific example given:
"SIGAR identified three instances of abuse, one of which we were able to value at $34,000,000. In this instance, the US Agency for International Development had contracted out to support the Mining Investment and Development for Afghanistan Sustainability Program (MIDAS) under the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MOMP) to regulate Afghanistan’s extractive’s production.13 However, the contractor was unable to complete its objectives for the MIDAS program due to abuse of power by Afghan government officials."
"Specifically, the success of MIDAS was predicated on the expectation that an improved mining law would be passed by the Afghan parliament at project inception and that there was political will for its development," the report said.
However, no such law was passed, the report mentioned.