$6bil­lion miss­ing at US State Depart­ment

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

There was this story on the wires yes­ter­day which said the vaunted US State Depart­ment led by the great Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry “has no idea what hap­pened to $6 bil­lion used to pay its con­trac­tors.” It said in a spe­cial “man­age­ment alert” made pub­lic last Thurs­day, the State Depart­ment’s In­spec­tor Gen­eral Steve Linick warned “sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial risk and a lack of in­ter­nal con­trol at the depart­ment has led to bil­lions of unac­counted dol­lars over the last six years.”

Ac­cord­ing to the In­spec­tor Gen­eral, the lack of over­sight “ex­poses the depart­ment to sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial risk. It cre­ates con­di­tions con­ducive to fraud as cor­rupt in­di­vid­u­als may at­tempt to con­ceal ev­i­dence of il­licit be­hav­ior by omit­ting key documents from the con­tract file. It im­pairs the abil­ity of the Depart­ment to take ef­fec­tive and timely ac­tion to pro­tect its in­ter­ests and, in turn, those of tax­pay­ers.”

In his memo, the IG de­tailed “re­peated ex­am­ples of poor con­tract file ad­min­is­tra­tion.” He said a re­cent in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the close­out process for con­tracts sup­port­ing the mis­sion in Iraq showed that au­di­tors couldn’t find 33 of the 115 con­tract files to­tal­ing about $2.1 bil­lion. Of the re­main­ing 82 files, au­di­tors said 48 con­tained in­suf­fi­cient documents re­quired by federal law. In an­other in­stance, the Bureau of In­ter­na­tional Nar­cotics and Law En­force­ment is­sued a $1 bil­lion con­tract in Afghanistan that was deemed “in­com­plete.”

This Mr. Linick is the Amer­i­can Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. By mak­ing this rev­e­la­tion of miss­ing funds, he has brought the govern­ment of the world’s lone su­per­power into dis­re­pute and has scan­dal­ized it. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama should bor­row a leaf from some­body and sus­pend him from that of­fice.

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