US investigating 38 cases of reconstruction abuse

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KABUL (AP) — Officials say the U.S. agency overseeing tens of billions of dollars in Afghanistan reconstruction projects is investigating 38 criminal cases ranging from contract and procurement fraud to bribery and theft.

Assistant inspector general Raymond DiNunzio said Tuesday at a press conference that only 10 of those under the microscope involve Afghans while the rest are U.S. and other foreign officials.

The reconstruction effort has come under increased scrutiny as Defense Department contractors pour into Afghanistan to support the U.S. military surge.

Special Inspector General Arnold Fields said his office also plans to increase staff from 90 in 2008 to 118 by the end of this year.