The fraud, waste and abuse stories from Afghanistan have entered new territory — “ghost workers.”
John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, initiated an audit to determine whether U.S. funds were distributed to fictitious members of the Afghan police force. To do so he will have to examine the “Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan” (LOFTA), which helps to pay the salaries of more than 140,000 Afghan police officers, Reuters reported.
Mr. Sopko wrote two U.S. generals and one Canadian general in the NATO mission about his concern that “the U.S. may be unwittingly helping to pay the salaries of non-existent members of the Afghan National Police.”
Reuters reported that 38 percent of the $3.17 billion trust fund is paid by the U.S., with the rest being picked up by the international community since 2002.
Col. Jane Crichton, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the news agency that 99 percent of the 54,000 ID card numbers identified during an investigation have been reconciled, with no proof of non-existent employees to date.
The Defense Department’s Inspector General is expected to release a final report on the matter in July, Reuters reported.