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Friday, March 5, 2010

Pakistan loses $400m to ‘enhanced oversight

ISLAMABAD: Over $400 million in reimbursement claims by Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for 2008 have been rejected by the United States because of new guidelines requiring ‘enhanced oversight and accountability’.
Total claims for 2008 were $1.4 billion, but Pakistan got $997 million in reimbursement, whereas the remaining claims were disallowed on grounds of “inadequate substantiation, over-billing” and other objections, sources told Dawn.

About $548 million were initially paid and the rest was deferred. It took the Pentagon another 18 months to settle the deferred claims. While paying $349 million last week in settlement of all claims from 2008, US officials reportedly tendered a callous excuse for the long delay: accounting problems.

Claims worth over $2 billion under CSF for 2009 are still pending because of intense scrutiny of Pakistan’s claims. After the cuts in payments for 2008, there are renewed fears in Islamabad that demands for last year would meet a similar fate.

The claims pertained to expenditures incurred by Pakistan on food and clothing of troops; fuel; transportation; communication; medical charges; helicopter operations; destroyed paraphernalia; and repair and maintenance of equipment. Under a bilateral agreement between ministries of defence, US repays ‘legitimate expenditures’ incurred in support of its military operations.

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