Special Inspector General John Sopko spoke to Sheryl Attkisson about the wasted tax dollars on salaries of “people who don’t exist” in foreign countries we’re trying to assist. Afghanistan, in particular, is where the IG found “ghost soldiers”. Inflated numbers of soldiers will bring in more American money so those in charge commit fraud to gain more funds. Fraud is rampant and it’s anyone’s guess where the money went.
SOPKO: “STARTED LOOKING THREE YEARS AGO”
“We’ve been raising this concern about ghosts going back a number of years. Actually I want to say we heard about it from Ashraf Ghani years ago, before he became president, he warned me about ‘ghosts,’ so we started looking three years ago. What we’re talking about are policemen, Afghan policemen, Afghan military, Afghan civil servants who don’t exist or they have multiple identity cards and we’re paying their salaries.”
“By ‘we’ I mean the United States and the international community. And we started finding out that we had no capacity to measure the number of soldiers, teachers, doctors, military people who we are paying their salaries.”
“In January 2015 we reported that more than $300 million in annual, U.S.-funded salary payments to the Afghan National Police were based on only partially verified or reconciled data, and that there was no assurance that personnel and payroll data were accurate. We found similar deficiencies during the course of our April 2015 audit of Afghan National Army personnel and payroll data. And what’s happening is the commanders or generals or other higher officials are actually pocketing the salaries of the ghosts.”
“And I remember President Ghani again, at that time he wasn’t president, saying, ‘John, you the United States government are paying the salary of an Afghan who’s a teacher, he’s a civil servant, he’s a doctor, he is a policeman, and he’s a soldier. And it’s the same Afghan. And he doesn’t exist. It’s not just the salaries.'”
“But we’re funding schools based upon the number of students, so if you invent or inflate the number of students, you’re going to be paying more money. On the soldiers and the police, we’re paying for extra boots, for food, for everything else, logistics for numbers that don’t exist.”
SOPKO ALERTED THE PENTAGON under the Obama administration but he says nothing was done. Now that President Trump is in office, Sopko claims that new measures are being put in place to protect from fraud. The Pentagon will be checking fingerprints, photos and “proof of life” to prevent the rampant fraud and loss of millions.