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US to return $100 million, withhold millions more from Afghanistan due to 'corruption'

20 Sep 2019 1TV News

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the United States was returning approximately $100 million intended for an energy infrastructure project in Afghanistan and would withhold a further $60 million in planned assistance to the country, citing corruption and lack of transparency.

In a statement, Pompeo said that the US was still fulfilling its commitment to complete the project, which consists of five substations and other transmission infrastructure between Ghazni and Kandahar and Kajaki and Kandahar, but would do so using “off-budget” mechanism given the Afghan government’s “inability to transparently manage U.S. Government resources.”

"Due to identified Afghan Government corruption and financial mismanagement, the U.S. Government is returning approximately $100 million to the U.S. Treasury that was intended for a large energy infrastructure project," he added.

Lack of transparency surrounding procurement decisions by the National Procurement Authority is also great cause for concern, Pompeo said.

“We will be withholding $60 million in planned assistance due to the government’s failure to meet benchmarks for transparency and accountability in public financial management,” Pompeo said.

He said that the Afghan government’s Monitoring and Evaluation Committee is incapable of being a partner in the international effort to build a bette rfuture for the Afghan people.

“We will cease funding to this entity at the end of this calendar year. We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight corruption, to serve the Afghan people, and to maintain their trust. Afghan leaders who fail to meet this standard should be held accountable,” Pompeo said.

“American taxpayers and the Afghan people can count on the United States to act when we see assistance funds misused,” Pompeo added.

Original Link: http://www.1tvnews.af/en/news/afghanistan/39563-us-to-return-$100-million-withhold-millions-more-from-afghanistan-due-to-corruption

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