Pentagon slammed for ‘hyper-secret’ $2bn Afghan fuel deals

US Congress investigators have sharply criticised the Pentagon for allowing an “ultra-secretive” business group to control more than $2 billion in crucial Afghan fuel contracts, while turning a blind eye to the alleged elaborate fraud by which it sourced more than half a billion gallons of jet fuel from Russian refineries. The report, released on Tuesday, damns the US Department of Defense for its failure to carry out even basic due diligence into Mina Corp, the Gibraltar-registered company which supplies fuel to the US’s Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan, one of the key supply hubs for the war in Afghanistan.

“Despite. two ongoing investigations into serious allegations of corruption, significant political and diplomatic fallout in Kyrgyzstan, and the companies’ unusual behaviour and hyper-secrecy, the US government knew little about who the companies were or how they operated,” the Congress National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee said in its report.Mina Corp only disclosed that it was jointly owned by Erkin Bekbolotov, a Kyrgyz national, and Doug Edelman, a US businessman, after the subcommittee issued the company with a subpoena.Investigators found no hard evidence that Maxim Bakiyev, the son of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, had benefited financially from Mina Corp’s contracts, a key claim made by Kyrgyz politicians, including Roza Otunbayeva, the country’s President.They did, however, raise questions over why Maxim Bakiyev worked with Mina Corp’s owners to help save the base after Russia pressured Kyrgyzstan to close it in February 2009 – Telegraph