SIGAR faults Pentagon-funded gas station in Shiberghan
KABUL (Pajhwok): An American federal watchdog says the Pentagon has spent about $43 million on a compressed natural gas (CNG) station in northern Afghanistan, the world’s most expensive station of this kind.
But the Department of Defence has been unable to explain why the cost is so high, John Sopko, head of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said on Monday.
In a new report, the SIGAR chief hit out at the Department of Defense for spending such a huge amount on building the filling station in Sheberghan, the capital of Jawzjan province.
The amount was nearly two and a half times what the project should have cost, said Sopko, who regretted the colossal waste of taxpayer money. SIGAR found it “troubling” that the Pentagon could not provide an explanation on how the costs shot up.
SIGAR’s analysis of the CNG station was impeded by lack of cooperation from the Department of Defence, the agency alleged, faulting the level of expenditure as gratuitous and extreme.
The Central Asian Engineering was awarded a contract worth $3 million in 2011 to construct the filling station. In comparison, a CNG station in neighbouring Pakistan costs no more than $500,000.
The gas station in opened in 2012, but the task force behind the project stopped operations in March. For that reason, the Department of Defense said it did not possess the personnel expertise to address these questions.
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