WASHINGTON - In the absence of a centralized automated system, the Afghan government has no idea how many policemen are actually are on its rolls, this increasing the prospects of ghost employees, a top US official told lawmakers.
"The risk that we are finding, first of all, is that there is no centralized automated system put in place by the Ministry of Interior to identify the Afghan National Police who are actually on the rolls and who are being paid," he said.
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Herbert Richardson said at a Congressional hearing on Monday that without such system in place, the Karzai administration had not been able to say where the money was actually going.
"What does that mean? That means you can have ghost employees; it means you can have AWOL employees; it means you can have individuals who are under multiple names collecting paychecks; and there's no way to account for it. So therein lies a very significant problem…" Richardson remarked.
The official added: "The other question that arises is if we're paying ghost employees or are we paying employees who go AWOL with equipment, weapons, materiel, and then come back with nothing, and then have to be restocked? What happened to that materiel and supplies that they took with them? Are they supplying insurgents?"
Richardson said an audit carried out by his office questioned the capability of the Ministry of Interior to account for and pay the Afghan police. "This is a key issue as we approach the transition to full Afghan control."
The issue was whether or not the facilities being built, the systems being put in place, the money being spent on police and the army were going to be worth it from the standpoint of the ability of the Afghan government to sustain these operations, he remarked.
"What we are finding from a cultural standpoint is that while this is a very complex issue, things are being put in place based on a number of recommendations that we have made over time the last couple of years to try to shore up these avenues." (Pajhwok)