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Army commands in South Korea squandered millions of dollars because of lack of contract oversight, according to a 2008 Army Audit Agency investigation of Contracting Command Korea.

The audit reviewed contracts from 2002 through 2006. Reviews of 117 projects valued at about $17.6 million showed that 93 contained a total of about $2.4 million in waste.

Contract managers, most of whom were assigned oversight tasks as an extra duty, authorized at least $1.1 million in payments for work that didnft match contract specifications.

Contract Command Korea and U.S. Forces Korea did not respond to a Stars and Stripes request for comment on the report.

Some documents following the report address steps being taken to remedy the findings.

Army contracts in South Korea are valued in excess of $300 million annually, according to the report.

"USACCK awarded contracts with overstated requirements and terms that required the Army to pay for services it no longer needed," the report stated.

Contracts were awarded with inaccurate requirements because the USFK departments putting out the purchase requests didnft coordinate properly with Contracting Command Korea, the audit found.

CCK managers told auditors that various department employees often didnft ask for help until they had funding.

Because funding often arrived late in the fiscal year, there wasnft enough time to properly award contracts, CCK managers told auditors.

Contract oversight has been wholly inadequate in most cases, according to the report.

The Department of Public Works was the only department with full-time contract managers, and their "senior leaders told us that, even with full time [contract managers] and inspectors, they didnft believe they were adequately monitoring the performance of the contractors," the report read.

In one case, three people were assigned as an extra duty to oversee a Korea-wide contract to maintain tactical vehicles.

The contract manager at Camp Humphreys also was responsible for vehicles at Kunsan Air Base, which is 173 miles away.

The audit report recommended that Army commands in South Korea hire full-time contract managers and quality assurance specialists.

However, Installation Management Command-Korea said it couldnft do that because consolidation with Installation Management-Pacific meant it wouldnft be authorized region-level staff.

To combat the problems identified in the report, the installation management command said it began evaluating staffing requirements in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a memo in response to the audit.

"We believe that this approach will help us to c assign [contract managers] to contracts that match their technical expertise (and) to identify shortfalls in personnel resources, assess risk of inadequate contract oversight, and take appropriate actions to mitigate that risk," Robert Myers, IMCOM chief of staff, wrote in a 2008 response memo obtained by Stars and Stripes.

Before the completion of the audit report, the installation management command also formed a contract review board to examine new contracts and oversee existing contracts. The board includes regional staff, garrison staff and CCK.

U.S. Forces Korea did not comment regarding any action taken against CCK leaders who oversaw the recently audited contracts.

Former CCK commander Col. Richard J. Moran pleaded guilty in 2003 to accepting $900,000 in bribes from companies seeking contracts between July 2001 and January 2002.

Examples of waste

Examples of waste in the 34-page Army Audit Agency report, obtained by Stars and Stripes, included:

¡ $541,000 for 1,473 maintenance tasks on Humvees and heavy trucks that were never performed.

¡ $195,000 to repair mattresses, or about 91 percent of what it would have cost to replace them all. Many mattresses were later replaced anyway. In a prior review, the agency found that a contractor had replaced mattress covers but didnft sterilize them or form new fillings before the mattresses were returned to soldiers.

¡ $147,200 to replace the perimeter fence at Camp Casey, even though the contractor simply repainted the old fence.

¡ $62,000 to replace the main drainage ditch at the former Camp Essayons after overstating the ditch length by 1,003 feet.

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