Congressmen oppose direct POL payments to Kabul
WASHINGTON (PAN): Troubled over the recent audit report, US lawmakers on Thursday opposed the Pentagon’s move to give money directly to the Afghan government for the purchase of petroleum, oil and lubricants worth about $2.8 billion for use by Afghan army from 2014 to 2018.
“In the name of capacity building, the Afghans will be allowed to purchase POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) for themselves. With that, the Afghan government will be responsible for overseeing the expenditure of roughly $2.8 billion of our taxpayer dollars -- this to a government that I believe is perhaps the most corrupt government on the face of the planet,” Congressman Jason Chaffetz said at a Congressional hearing.
The National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a Congressional hearing on the recent audit report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on Afghanistan National Army's logistics capability for petroleum, oil and lubricants.
An astounding lack of internal controls and records of fuel purchases, deliveries and consumption existed, Congressman John Tierney said of SIGAR’s audit that found the Department of Defense's training mission lacked a valid method for estimating fuel needs on which to base the funding.
“Ultimately, this means that the fuel and the fund used to purchase it are highly vulnerable to theft and waste,” he said, expressing concern at the training mission’s intention to transfer to the Afghan government direct control of logistics and US taxpayer funds for fuel on January 1, 2013.
Before the transfer took place, he believed, NATO and the Department of Defense must work together to immediately establish clear guidelines to ensure that the money was not misused.
Congressman Stephen Lynch, calling the SIGAR report disturbing, said nearly $475 million in fuel payments with no records and a lack of accurate methodology for estimating ANA fuel requirements had been uncovered.
SIGAR John Sopko, in his testimony, said from 2007 to 2012, US funding for the Afghan army fuel totaled almost id="mce_marker".1 billion. Based on ongoing audit work, he said SIGAR had serious concerns about Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A’s) method for estimating fuel needs.
“In fact, CSTC-A was unable to provide us records on nearly $475 million in fuel payments because, according to CSTC-A officials, those records had been shredded,” he said.
Sopko said it was imperative US military and civilian authorities improved their efforts to protect the taxpayers' continuing investment and to ensure that the Afghan army was capable of assuming responsibilities in the future.
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