Pentagon lost millions on Italian aircrafts later on offered as scrap, nobody held liable

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Pentagon wasted millions on Italian planes later sold as scrap, no one held accountable

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force lost $549 million on malfunctioning Italian-made freight aircrafts for the Afghan federal government and nobody associated with the offer has actually been held to account, according to a brand-new report by a federal government guard dog.

Neither a previous U.S. Air Force general who was greatly associated with the job nor the business that offered the problematic airplane to the Pentagon has actually dealt with prosecution over the program, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) stated in a report gotten by NBC News.

The Pentagon purchased 20 G222 freight airplane from Alenia North America in 2008 however the aircrafts showed undependable, with long hold-ups to protect the shipment of extra parts, upkeep issues and various grievances about their security from Afghan pilots. The program was suspended and the aircrafts were ruined and developed into scrap metal in 2014, costing $40,257, according to the report.

“Unfortunately, no one involved in the program was held accountable for the failure of the G222 program,” the report stated.

The previous Air Force officer “had a clear conflict of interest because he was significantly involved with the G222 program while on active duty, then retired and became the primary contact for Alenia on the same program,” the inspector general’s report stated.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, in addition to authorities from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI, released an examination of the job. Federal authorities tried to develop a case versus the professional, Alenia, for possible agreement scams and other infractions, and to hold the retired Air Force officer associated with the acquisition liable, according to the inspector general’s report.

SIGAR likewise helped the query, and discovered that a number of cautions from within the U.S. Air Force about Alenia and its absence of a strategy to sustain the airplane “were ignored.” The examination discovered that U.S. contracting workers “did not check that Alenia had the required spare parts available as promised,” or that it had actually validated the reconditioned aircrafts were airworthy “especially in the high altitude and extreme weather conditions of Afghanistan,” the report stated.

The Justice Department accepted the cases for prospective prosecution in 2016 however informed SIGAR in May 2020 that both cases would be too tough to prosecute effectively, the report stated.

Justice Department authorities kept that founding guilty the retired Air Force basic for dispute of interest infractions “would be difficult because such convictions were ‘unheard of,'” the report stated.

The Justice Department likewise chose that due to the fact that the U.S. federal government accepted the shipment of the airplane — regardless of clear infractions of agreement’s requirements — it “would significantly complicate any attempt to hold Alenia responsible for poor refurbishment and multiple other contract violations,” according to the report.

The Justice Department decreased to comment. The Leonardo Company, the follower company to Alenia, did not react to an ask for remark.

The Pentagon did not determine the Air Force basic pointed out in the report as included with the program and when requested remark, described its reaction consisted of in SIGAR’s report.

No lives lost

The report stated the airplane was not matched to flying in the mountainous surface of Afghanistan and the aircraft’s defects caused “near fatal” accidents.

“Fortunately, the Afghanistan G222 program was terminated before any lives were lost,” it stated.

The report advised that for future weapons purchases, the Defense Department must adequately weigh dangers prior to authorizing acquisitions, need specialists to offer intend on how it will sustain airplane or other items, prevent waiving policies or treatments due to the fact that financing for a program will end, carry out “comprehensive inspections” prior to accepting an end product and completely examine “allegations of the conflict of interest statute” and take proper action.

The report consisted of an action from the Defense Department, which stated it had actually embraced a number of procedures to offer more oversight of weapons agreements as an outcome of the G222 program. The Pentagon disagreed with the report over whether the pending expiration of financing had actually contributed in hurrying through the choice to purchase the G222 freight aircrafts on a sole-source agreement.