- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2014

The United States’ top watchdog for federal spending in Afghanistan on Friday called for Secretary of State John F. Kerry to reconsider a contract for three television trucks that have been left to collect dust in Kabul at a cost of $3.6 million to taxpayers.

In August 2011, the State Department ordered five news trucks to be delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul within 210 days at cost of $6 million. The trucks were meant be donated to various Afghan television networks to be used for “live sporting events, such as Buzkashi, Soccer, Cricket and other sport,” according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan.

The contract was amended in September 2013 to cut the number of trucks to three for $3.6 million, but it wasn’t until July that the trucks were delivered.

Investigators were alarmed at the delay in delivery as well as the drastic price increase. According to the letter, the price of the two Ford ES350 trucks, originally prices at $157,300 each, more than tripled to $568,062 after the contract was amended.

“If this information is accurate, it suggests that something is seriously wrong with the way this contract was managed,” Inspector General John F. Sopko wrote. “If it is true that the State Department may still be able to cancel the contract for default, then it may be something State may wish to consider.”

Mr. Sopko requested the State Department turn over several records detailing the provisions laid out in the contract and an explanation for the late delivery.

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