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Wasteful spending on Afghanistan’s security has continued to plague the U.S. government, with the latest revelation of nearly $7 million spent to maintain police vehicles that either were destroyed or inoperable. ~Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov
Ernesto Londoño – (The Washington Post) – January 17, 2013 – The U.S. government paid $6.8 million for maintenance of more than 7,000 Afghan police vehicles that had been destroyed or were out of commission, according to an inspector general report released Thursday.
Elton Mark McCabe, a Slidell businessman recently freed from a prison in South Sudan, was arrested Thursday on charges of receiving illegal kickbacks and wire fraud in connection with his work as a private contractor in Afghanistan in 2009. McCabe, 52, is former vice president of a company that received subcontracts for U.S. government projects in rebuilding efforts in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. ~Katherine Sayre – The Times-Picayune
“I’m very excited that Mark McCabe is finally getting out of South Sudan after being held there with no just cause since mid-October,” Vitter said.~Press Release – Office of Senator David Vitter
(DoJ) – WASHINGTON – November 12, 2012 – The former vice president of a construction company doing work in Afghanistan was arrested today on allegations of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gratuities from subcontractors during his employment in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana and unsealed today charges Elton Maurice “Mark” McCabe III, 53, of Slidell, La., with one count of receiving illegal kickbacks and one count of wire fraud.
McCabe said he worked as a private contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq, beginning in 2004, doing construction at military bases. Once his job in Iraq ended, he heard other contractors talking about a country with new investment opportunities: South Sudan. McCabe partnered with an Iraqi friend, Mohammed Oglah, to explore business there, he said.~The Times-Picayune
McCabe and Oglah, who run a construction and consulting company called Diamond Corp. ~Bloomberg Businessweek
DynCorp was paid $73 million for base plagued with issues, contractor says problems started after it completed work
Paul D. Shinkman – (US News) – December 13, 2012 – The government office tasked with monitoring U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan claims the U.S. Army lost tens of millions of dollars supposed to be used to re-construct an Afghan Army base that remains in disrepair.
The Office of the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has opened an investigation into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its $73 million contract with DynCorp International to build an Afghan National Army base at Camp Pamir in the northern Kunduz Province.
DynCorp was paid in full and released from the contract, SIGAR says, though the base is plagued with structural failures and a crumbling foundation. This investigation stems from an October report outlining the issues.
Senators see ‘harm to taxpayers’ in government’s decision to pay contractor for inadequate and incomplete work on construction contracts in Afghanistan
(Office of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2012 -In a bipartisan effort to protect taxpayer dollars, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today sought answers from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) concerning its decision to approve a $70.8 million dollar settlement with the contractor DynCorp International for faulty construction of an Afghan Army garrison. According to a report by the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that questioned the settlement, some of the structures built by the contractor had completely “failed” and were either “unsafe, uninhabitable, or unusable.”
In a letter to Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps, McCaskill and Collins address multiple reports of waste and mismanagement associated with the contract, asking General Bostick to provide them with information that would justify the $70.8 million settlement.
“It looks like we paid $70 million for a contract that delivered next to nothing-any reasonable person is going to ask why,” said McCaskill, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. “Every taxpayer dollar spent in Afghanistan is a dollar that wasn’t spent to build a school or repair a road right here at home, and I think it’s critical that we really scrutinize what we’re getting for the money we’re spending on projects halfway around the world.”
“Many questions are raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to let Dyncorp off the hook for poor performance in a settlement agreement made in connection with contracts to construct a garrison for the Afghan National Army,” said Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The Corps of Engineers has been unable to provide a justification, despite repeated requests from Congress and the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The IG audit on the construction of this garrison documented a number of failures. Such failures undermine our national security objective in Afghanistan to train and support the Afghan National Army. This settlement agreement appears to be yet another inexcusable failure of oversight that undermines the overall mission in Afghanistan and wastes taxpayer dollars.”
Spencer Ackerman – (Danger Room) – November 2, 2012 – Just days after an inspector general report revealed that a giant Pentagon contractor performed “unsatisfactory” work in Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force awarded the firm another multimillion-dollar pot of cash.
Virginia’s DynCorp, which performs everything from private security to construction for the U.S. military, has re-upped with Air Force to help pilots learn basic flying skills on the T-6A/B Texan II aircraft, a training plane. The deal is only the latest between DynCorp and the Air Force on the Texan II: In June, the Air Force Materiel Command gave the company a deal worth nearly $55 million for training services. The latest one, announced late Thursday, is worth another $72.8 million, and lasts through October 2013.
But the Air Force’s lucrative vote of confidence in DynCorp comes not even a week after the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction blasted the company for performing “unsatisfactory” construction work at an Afghan Army base in Kunduz. The base was “at risk of structural failure” when the watchdogs initially inspected, but the Army Corps of Engineers chose to settle DynCorp’s contract, a move that awarded the company “$70.8 million on the construction contracts and releas[ed] it from any further liabilities and warranty obligation.” (.pdf)
A DynCorp spokeswoman, Ashley Burke, told Bloomberg News that the company disputed the special inspector general’s findings. For its part, the special inspector general took to tweeting photographs of what it called “DynCorp’s failed work at #Afghan #Army Base in #Kunduz.”