The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction continues to publish the results of investigations into contracting fraud. The latest, Improvised Explosive Devices: Unclear whether culvert denial systems to protect troop are functioning or were ever installed, doesn't wait for the punchline to let you know the result.
The report points out that IEDs are increasingly popular with the insurgents, with IED events increasing from 9,300 in 2009 to 16,000 in 2011 - an increase of 42 per cent.
To combat IEDs, roads are now built with culvert denial systems - in fact, reinforced metal bars embedded in concrete - to prevent explosives being laid in the drainage channels.
A preliminary SIGAR inquiry has now found that at least two Afghan contractors, with contracts of at least $1 million, have committed fraud by billing the US government for the installation of 250 culvert denial systems that were either never installed or incorrectly installed. Both have been arrested and charged with fraud and negligent homicide.
SIGAR says it has not been able to determine the total number of such contracts, although they says that "From our review of these contracts, we identified at least 2500 specific grid points where culvert denial systems were supposed to be installed, though with the lack of quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) documentation in the contract files, it is not clear how many of those culvert denial systems were actually completed."
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