The U.S. Agency for International Development’s inspector general wants the agency to collect small fines from its employees who do not show up for chartered flights USAID commissions for trips to Afghanistan, arguing that the no-shows cost USAID up to $14 million annually.
The recommendation was part of an audit report recently published by USAID’s inspector general, which assessed USAID’s portion of the government’s Embassy Air Program in Afghanistan.
In a response dated May 15, the USAID mission in Afghanistan voiced disagreement with the inspector general’s assessment and recommendation, citing two reasons: up to 50 percent of the no-shows were because of security reasons and that imposing a penalty fee for no-shows is not feasible.
The mission also disagreed with the inspector general’s estimate of how much funds USAID can save or be put to better use by reducing the number of no-shows.
In its response to the mission’s comment, the inspector general said its own review found that only 6 percent of the no-show cases were related to security restrictions. The inspector general’s office said it is also standing by its annual $14 million estimate.
“We are not asserting that this amount can be deobligated or returned to the Treasury, but rather that the cost associated with reserving seats for no-show passengers—$14 million annually—could be put to better use if these seats were made available to other passengers,” the audit report reads.
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