Posted on August 17, 2017
A foreign company hired by the U.S. government to mentor and train Afghan intelligence officers billed Uncle Sam for more than $50 million in luxury cars — including Porsches, an Aston Martin, and a Bentley — and the lucrative salaries of executives and their spouses (who didn’t do any work). The firm also spent $1,500 on alcohol and $42,000 on automatic weapons prohibited under the terms of the contract, according to figures provided by a U.S. Senator from a federal audit that has not been released to the public. It marks the latest of many scandals involving the free-flow of American dollars to controversial causes in Afghanistan, where fraud and corruption are rampant in all sectors.
AUGUST 16, 2017
Afghanistan reconstruction has been a huge debacle that continues fleecing American taxpayers to the tune of billions and Judicial Watch has reported extensively on it over the years. Many of the details are regularly disclosed in provoking reports published on the SIGAR website. Highlights include the mysterious disappearance of nearly half a billion dollars in oil destined for the Afghan National Army, a $335 million Afghan power plant that’s seldom used and an $18.5 million renovation for a prison that remains unfinished and unused years after the U.S.-funded work began. Among the more outrageous expenditures are U.S. Army contracts with dozens of companies tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The reconstruction watchdog recommended that the Army immediately cut business ties to the terrorists but the deals continued. Another big waste reported by Judicial Watch a few years ago, involves a $65 million initiative to help Afghan women escape repression. The government admits that, because there’s no accountability, record-keeping or follow-up, it has no clue if the program was effective.
BREAKING: Taxpayers on the Hook for Porsches, Alfa Romeos, a Bentley, and an Aston Martin Draws Outrage from McCaskill
Senator: ‘Whoever approved of this spending should be fired’
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today blew the whistle on a federal contract that left taxpayers on the hook for over $50 million in questionable costs, including seven luxury vehicles and $400,000 average salaries for significant others of corporate officers to serve as “executive assistants.”
“Whoever approved of this spending should be fired—it’s a slap in the face to Missouri taxpayers and the entire contracting process,” McCaskill said. “I’m going to get to the bottom of what happened with this contract and why a company with so many previous problems keeps getting contracts.”
In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, McCaskill demanded answers on the “Legacy East” contract, a project to provide counterinsurgency intelligence experts to mentor and train the Afghan National Security Forces, after the Defense Contract Audit Agency’s (DCAA) review of the contract called into question $50 million in expenses.
The audit revealed that a subcontractor, New Century Consulting (NCC), billed over $50 million in questionable costs to the Army through its contractor, Imperatis. The costs passed on to taxpayers included seven luxury cars—including Porsches, Alfa Romeos, a Bentley, an Aston Martin, and Land Rover. In addition, the significant others of the CEO and CFO were kept on payroll as “executive assistants,” despite the fact that these employees worked from home and never traveled to customer locations, and no documentation existed to prove they actually performed any work. Despite all this, in 2012 the average salary of these “executive assistants” reached approximately $420,000 each.
The DCAA also found that the company spent over $1,500 on alcohol, and $42,000 in cash on automatic weapons despite regulations or contract provisions prohibiting such expenditures. In addition, NCC had millions of dollars in other questioned or unallowable expenses, including severance payments, rent, unnecessary licensing fees, extensive austerity pay, and expenses for air travel for personal reasons.
In response, McCaskill is demanding answers, including:
- Information on which Department of Defense (DoD) officials had award, management, and/or oversight responsibilities related to the Legacy East contract between 2008 and 2013.
- The steps DoD is taking to recover the questioned costs.
- Whether the U.S. government has considered the contractor identified in this audit for suspension or debarment.
The DCAA conducted its review in part because McCaskill had previously demanded answers after an earlier audit of the contract by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction revealed millions of dollars in questionable costs. The primary contractor, Imperatis, formerly Jorge Scientific, has previously drawn fire from McCaskill on multiple occasions, including in 2012 when video surfaced of Imperitis contractors intoxicated in what former employees called a pattern of inappropriate behavior. In 2016, Jorge Scientific/Imperatis defaulted on a major IT contract that had been awarded after McCaskill repeatedly raised concerns.
McCaskill is a leading voice in the Senate for saving taxpayer dollars through contracting reform and oversight. McCaskill waged a successful six-year effort to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse in wartime contracting. Last year, McCaskill called for answers on why the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Bureau of Prisons hired a contractor, Glocoms, despite its history of poor contract performance. McCaskill has also successfully expanded protections for whistleblowers—who ?help to identify waste, fraud, and abuse—to government contractors, subcontractors, and others who the federal government directly or indirectly hires through bipartisan bills that have been signed into law.
Read McCaskill’s letter to Secretary Mattis HERE.