AFGHANISTAN

SIGAR finds Pentagon failed to control disbursement of Afghan defense force salary funds

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued a report this week in which it stated the Pentagon made $232 million in questionable salary payments to the former government of Afghanistan’s defense ministry personnel for fiscal year 2019 to May 2020.
SIGAR found that during this period, the US Defense Department (DoD) disbursed $232 million to the former Afghan government “for suspicious units and non-existent object codes, or [for salaries] that were never delivered to the bank accounts of MOD personnel.”
The report notes that these payments were calculated outside of the Afghan Personnel and Pay System (APPS) software system, which was put in place to prevent corruption and promote transparency regarding payments to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
The Pentagon reported spending $64.8 million on the software system.
Specifically, SIGAR found that at least $191.9 million in funds for salaries was disbursed but calculated outside of APPS, in addition to disbursing over $40.1 million more for salaries than what was supported by the APPS documentation.
This occurred because the DoD did not use APPS to manage all aspects of the MoD payroll process, did not implement internal controls, and did not use all of the authorities
granted to it to oversee the distribution of salary funds.
The United States provided more than $3 billion annually to support the former Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
Of this $3 billion, more than $750 million paid the salaries of personnel at the Ministries of Defense (MOD) and Interior Affairs, respectively.
The objective of this audit was to determine the extent to which DoD, from 2019 through May 2021, provided accountability and oversight of the funds that DoD provided to the former Afghan government to pay the salaries of MoD personnel.
In an overview of the report to Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, SIGAR’s Inspector General John Sopko said the improper payments of MoD salaries persisted following the implementation of APPS.
“Additionally, systemic gaps persisted that may have included enabling corrupt individuals to collect multiple salaries by creating fictitious records in APPS, inflated MoD personnel numbers, or MoD personnel not receiving their salaries,” he said.
“The findings of this report demonstrate core deficiencies related to MoD pay and the continued exposure of funds intended for salaries to corruption, diversion, and pilferage. Furthermore, our findings provide clear indications that MoD strength numbers in APPS were unreliable and misrepresented force capabilities,” he stated.The post SIGAR finds Pentagon failed to control disbursement of Afghan defense force salary funds first appeared on Ariana News.

Source: Ariana News

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