SIGAR: $3.6 million in TV trucks purchased by US for Afghanistan, sitting unused

SIGAR: $3.6 million in TV trucks purchased by US for Afghanistan, sitting unused

October 25, 214

Office for the special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says 3 TV trucks purchased by US for sporting events in Afghanistan delayed 2-years late, never used, two tripled in cost.

According to SIGAR John F. Sopko’s letter to the Secretary of State, In August 2011, the State Department entered into a contract for purchase of the trucks, with a requirement for delivery to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul within 180-210 days.

Sopko says the contract originally specified five trucks at a cost of $6 million (three satellite/microwave television broadcast trucks at the unit price of $1,786,779, two Ford ES350 trucks at a unit price of $157,300 and various communications equipment). The primary use of the vehicles was for “live sporting events, such as Buzkashi, Soccer, Cricket and other sports.”2 On September 16, 2013, the contract was amended to require only 3 trucks, at a cost of $3.6 million (one satellite/microwave television broadcast truck at the unit price of $1,589,557 and two Ford ES350 trucks at a unit price of $568,062).3 SIGAR has been told that the contractor received unspecified compensation for costs incurred under the original contract.

SIGAR has been advised that the three trucks arrived in Afghanistan on or about July 18, 2014, and that one of the trucks was damaged in transit. Figures 1 and 2 show the trucks prior to shipment to Afghanistan. The trucks were still covered by shipping material as of September 2014 (see figures 3 and 4), and my office has been told that none of the trucks has yet been placed into service. According to the information provided to my staff, the State Department has not accepted delivery and could cancel the contract due to the delay in delivering the trucks.

Not only were the trucks delivered years late, but apparently the unit cost increased substantially. While the unit price of the satellite/microwave television broadcast truck was reduced by almost $200,000, the two Ford ES350 trucks (originally priced at $157,300 each) more than tripled in price, to $568,062 each under the subsequent contract modification, he added.

SIGAR says if this information is accurate, it suggests that something is seriously wrong with the way this contract was managed. If it is true that the State Department may still be able to cancel the contract for default, then it may be something State may wish to consider.

John Sopko asked the secretary of State to help SIGAR better understand what happened in this case, and provide the following information:

 A copy of Modifications M001 and MOO2 to Contract SGE50011C0056 for Satellite/Microwave Television Broadcast Trucks for Kabul, Afghanistan.

 Copies of all documents, including electronic communications, related to the decisions that led to the modifications of contract SGE50011C0056.

 Copies of all documents reflecting any payments made to the contractor for either the original or modified contract.

 Copies of all documents related to the statement of work and payments made to any consultants in support of contract SGE50011C0056.

 Explain the reason for the price increases over the original contract. Please provide copies of all documents pertaining to these price increases.

 Explain why the contractor did not meet the specified delivery schedule and the actions taken by the State Department as a result.

 Explain the current plans and timeline for delivery or deployment of the trucks. Are the original requirements still valid? Which Afghan broadcasters will receive these trucks and under what conditions?