Report blasts Bureau of Indian Affairs' Alaska roads project

The Anchorage Daily NewsMay 23, 2009 

The Interior Department is tightening the flow of economic stimulus money to the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Alaska roads program after a scathing inspector general's report alleged mismanagement and the waste of millions in tax dollars.

"Given the history, we are proceeding with an abundance of caution and additional oversight on all projects. Our plan has been and will continue to be that funds will only be distributed once we determine that there are sufficient controls over spending and accountability in place," Interior department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said.

That's a result of a February report conducted by the Interior Department's inspector general, Earl Devaney.

"The Alaska regional office's consistent decision to ignore sound management practices has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars and left Native American citizens without needed infrastructure," the report concluded.

Niles Cesar, who has directed the BIA's Alaska regional office since 1990, did not return calls seeking comment.

The Interior department, of which the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a part, said a new team is now in place overseeing the roads program that was criticized in the report. The department also immediately imposed a "corrective action plan" that includes a reporting and monitoring program.

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