Records on Afghan fuel buys may be lost

Sept. 10, 2012 at 9:12 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Western military officials say in a report due Monday they cannot account for about $475 million in fuel purchases for the Afghan army.

Financial records for fuel purchases from October 2006 to February 2011 may have been shredded, The New York Times reported.

Officials with the U.S. and NATO training missions in Afghanistan told U.S. government investigators they have no system to estimate how much fuel may be needed by the Afghan army, or what it may cost, important information as coalition forces prepare to hand over the budget for fuel spending by the Afghan army.

Records needed for a current audit of March 2011 to March 2012 also could not be found by officials in Afghanistan, John F. Sopko, the Defense Department's inspector general said in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and top military commanders.

The findings were published Monday in a report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

The agency recommended fuel spending for Afghan forces be frozen at 2012 levels until proper accounting procedures can be established.

The report said the training missions' method for estimating fuel purchases did not include "basic information such as the actual number and capacity of [army] storage locations, the inventories of vehicles and generators in active use, and fuel consumption" at each location.

In a report last month, Sopko said no significant construction work had yet begun on infrastructure projects funded through the U.S.-financed Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.

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