IG has questions about Pentagon’s Afghan incinerator review

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The nation’s top investigator in Afghanistan is questioning just how thoroughly Defense Department officials tried to correct issues related to a problem-plagued $5.4 million trash incinerator, and announced they are launching their own investigation.

The incinerator at the Sharana Forward Operating Base went through a 30-month delay before it was turned over to U.S. troops – at which point officials discovered it still needed $1 million in repair work. Yet the contractor who built it was paid in full anyway.

That prompted a review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who determined that “none of those personnel assigned to provide oversight on the incinerator contract failed to appropriately perform their assigned duties on the contract” and that “the incinerator system was turned over to its military customer in fully operable condition.”

But the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, isn’t satisfied and is questioning just how thorough the Pentagon’s review was.

In a letter sent to Defense Department leaders, the investigative office says it wants to know why the contractor was paid in full despite turning over equipment that required $1 million in repairs.

The Corps never questioned SIGAR’s finding that some of the problems with the incinerator could pose a health hazards, inspectors noted.

Saying there is an “absence of further documentation, justification, and support showing why the decision was made to accept the substandard work on these incinerators,” SIGAR said they are launching their own investigation into why the incinerators were so costly to taxpayers.

The incinerators won the Golden Hammer award from The Washington Times for wasteful spending in December.

SIGAR reported that the incinerators have since been dismantled by Afghan forces that took over control of the base.

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