The US leading oversight authority on Afghanistan reconstruction on Monday said it sent a series of letters raising concerns over the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s oversight of the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA), which administers payments to Afghan police.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said the United States and other donor nations had contributed roughly $3.17 billion to the trust fund since 2002. In his letters, Special Inspector General John F. Sopko wrote of a string of irregularities — including tens of millions of dollars in unsupported charges made by the Afghan Ministry of Interior against LOTFA — including $23.8 million in LOTFA funds diverted as a result of a “pension deduction” levied by the ministry. In one letter, sent recently to American military commanders in Afghanistan, Sopko wrote that UNDP officials were not proactively addressing many of the problems plaguing LOTFA, including the dubious deductions taken from Afghan police salaries, evidence of fraud, and other concerns raised by donors regarding LOTFA’s integrity.
In another set of letters, Sopko wrote to UNDP Administrator Helen Clark to express his concern over UNDP’s failure to provide detailed information concerning steps being taken to ensure that LOTFA funds were not used to pay artificially high police salaries and “ghost employees.”
Sopko’s letter suggests that UNDP has a duty to oversee how LOTFA funds are expended, but that the agency has been “disturbingly ambiguous” in the face of SIGAR inquiries.
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