Every few days we hear new examples of how the government wastes our money. A few million here, a few billion there – it all adds up. The national debt has topped $17 trillion, they’re cutting retirement benefits for veterans, Nancy Pelosi says the cupboard is bare, but they keep throwing our money away. Here’s the latest example – $5 million wasted on trash incinerators in Afghanistan that they don’t even use.
The Army paid full price for two incinerators at the Sharana forward operating base in Afghanistan that, despite a 30-month delay, have yet to be switched on, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the U.S. top watchdog for the country.
“We spent $5.4 million dollars, the machines were never turned on and never used. So basically, the only thing that was ever burned in that incinerator was taxpayer dollars,” John Sopko, the special inspector general for the Afghan mission, told The Washington Times.
By the time the construction was completed, the project had already had seen 896 days of delays. Corps of Engineers officials blamed the delay on the contractor building the incinerators, stating that, among other problems, the company was suspended for 62 days for not having qualified safety, health and quality control personnel on site.
Yet that didn’t stop the Army from paying for the incinerator in full at a cost of $5.4 million, despite the fact that military officials “told us they never conducted a test of the incinerators to ensure they were operational and met contract requirements,” the investigative report said.
That meant the Corps didn’t notice potentially dangerous electrical problems with the equipment that were later found by a second contractor — problems that could cost another $1 million to fix.
Even if the incinerators were operating, investigators said they could only handle about 80 percent of the load that was originally planned.
Read the whole thing, it gets worse. They built the incinerators without proper loading areas, so even if they were operating properly the trash would have had to have been loaded by hand rather than with forklifts or other machinery.