Report: U.S. mismanagement wastes Iraq money

Report: U.S. mismanagement wastes Iraq money
# 28 January 2010 02:55 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. The US State Department has reportedly failed to properly manage and oversee a two-billion-dollar contract with a private company to train Iraqi police as the war-torn nation inches its way toward reconstruction, APA reports quoting Al Jazeera.
In a report to be published on Monday, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr. lashed out at the spending by DynCorp International for the second time in three years, the Washington Post reported.
The report blamed the State Department’s failure to manage the various task orders assigned to DynCorp for leaving over $2.5 billion in US funds "vulnerable to waste and fraud."
The watchdog criticized the department’s inadequate resources and controls for overseeing performance and expenditures made by DynCorp, saying for years there was only one contracting officer in Iraq responsible for the issue before the number grew to three in November.
A 2007 audit by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction diagnosed "weak and sometimes non-existent contract administration" as the root cause of the problems they identified in Iraq, listing several examples of waste.
The report then included DynCorp’s expenditure of $43.8 million for the manufacture and mothballing of a residential camp that was never used. It also said the State Department spent $36.4 million for weapons and equipment that could not be accounted for because of vague invoices and a lack of backup information.
Leveling the same charges in connection with the police contract awarded to DynCorp International in 2004, the largest contract to be awarded by the State Department, Bowen urged the department to live up to its 2007 pledge to fix the problem.
"I think they need to act quickly to remedy this long-standing concern," he told reporters.
Asistant Secretary of State David T. Johnson, who oversees the Iraqi police training contract, rejected the charge as "unfounded" in a memo but agreed that contracting officers need to be increased "significantly" in Iraq.
The embarrassing report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq raised concerns on Capitol Hill where Senator Claire McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, expressed regrets that the private contractor had also been given the responsibility of training police in Afghanistan.
"I don’t have any confidence that they’re doing a better job there," she said.
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, mocked the State Department’s performance, saying it "appears to be sleepwalking through its oversight obligations."