US audit finds Afghan officials getting hefty bonuses

Washington, Oct. 31 (ANI): A U.S. government audit has found Afghan officials routinely received hefty pay supplements from the U.S., sometimes 20 times in excess of their base salary

A report released Friday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found lax oversight of the millions of dollars the U.S. and other nations are paying to supplement salaries of Afghan government officials and advisers.

"Very few, if any, controls are in place to ensure that there isn't waste, fraud and abuse of this supplement," said Special Inspector General Arnold Fields, a retired Marine Corps general.

The report says neither the Afghan government nor donors have a systematic way to track payments, many of which are in cash.

The practice also goes against U.S. policy that prohibits paying the salaries of policymaking officials in countries that receive aid. U.S. officials have waived that policy "at least twice," the audit states.

International donors provide about 45 million dollars a year in salary support to 6,600 Afghan officials, the report says.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the U.S. Agency for International Development are paying about a million dollars a month to 900 officials.

The biggest recipients are the ministry of education and the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The audit report didn't identify any officials by name. (ANI)

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