August 21st, 2012
(GIN) – A four-star Army general who headed the first U.S. Africa Command is facing possible demotion for spending lavishly on himself and his wife for travel, hotels, and other items, according to a scathing Defense Dept report.
Gen. William “Kip” Ward and his wife allegedly misused government resources for personal purposes, the report states, taking trips on military aircraft and using staff members to run personal errands.
The 99-page investigative report released by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office on Aug. 17, under a Freedom of Information Act request, concludes Ward, “engaged in multiple forms of misconduct related to official and unofficial travel.”
“He misused his position and his subordinates’ time, Government funds, and rental vehicles,” the report states. “He failed to use a [government travel charge card] as required and received reimbursement for travel expenses that exceeded the per diem rates without actual expense allowance approvals. Finally, he improperly accepted gifts from a prohibited source.”
Ward, 62, was appointed by President George Bush in 2008. He is the only active-duty, four-star African-American general, and he is only the fifth African American to achieve this rank.
Since leaving Africa Command, he has worked in an Army staff job out of the limelight, serving as a two-star general. Under Army guidelines, a four-star who is not serving at that rank for 60 days is automatically demoted until the case is resolved. Ward has denied all charges, calling them “character assassination.”
Africom has drawn criticism on the continent for building local armies and militia at the expense of clinics and schools. Only Liberia has agreed to allow Africom to create a headquarters in that country.