A recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) recalls the 1980s stories of $640 toilet seats and $500 hammers. In a report primarily addressing the construction of a hospital in Afghanistan that is two years behind schedule, SIGAR also found some egregious examples of overpayments to contractors, including one instance where USAid reimbursed a $300,000 charge for 600 gallons of diesel fuel, or $500/gallon:
In one instance, SIGAR found that IOM [International Organization for Migration] paid the contractor $300,000 for 600 gallons of diesel fuel—a cost of $500 per gallon. According to IOM officials, the market price in Afghanistan for diesel fuel should not exceed $5.00 per gallon. As a result, with a proper invoice, the fuel charge should not have exceeded $3,000. In another instance, IOM paid $220,000 for an automatic temperature control device that should have cost between $2,000 and$10,000. IOM could not provide us with a vendor invoice for either of these payments. USAID did not discover the overpayments and reimbursed IOM for these unwarranted costs.
In response to the SIGAR report, USAid stated its intention to conduct a financial audit and recover these and any other overpayments.