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It’s a bad time to be a four-star general: One more down after reported misuse of funds

Published time: November 13, 2012 22:31
Edited time: November 14, 2012 02:58
Commander of the U.S. Africa Command General William Ward.(Reuters / Louafi Larbi)

Commander of the U.S. Africa Command General William Ward.(Reuters / Louafi Larbi)

Yet another member of the Pentagon’s top-brass is already in hot water. The former head of US Africa Command was demoted this week for misusing funds.

Gen. William "Kip" Ward lost his rank as a four-star soldier and was demoted to a three-star lieutenant general by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this week after coming under fire for allegedly spending thousands of dollars on unauthorized expenses.

Confirming the demotion on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, an official close to the matter says Gen. Ward has been ordered to repay the government roughly $82,000 following the results of a report conducted by the Defense Department Inspector General. That report was recently forwarded to Sec. Panetta, who authorized the action against Ward this week.

A spokesperson for the disgraced general released a statement to the media on Tuesday, dismissing the government’s allegations of wrongdoings. According to Chris Garrett, Gen. Ward "has never been motivated by personal gain and fulfilled each and every mission assigned to him and served his country and the men and women assigned to his commands with distinction."

"While General Ward is not perfect he has always been guided by his faith in God and the belief that there is no greater honor as a patriot than to lead those who choose to serve our nation in the armed forces,” Garrett adds.

According to the AP, the initial report from the inspect general alleged that Ward had afforded “lengthy stays at lavish hotels for Ward, his wife and his staff members” on the government’s payroll, which were only revealed after the Pentagon launched an extensive 17-month investigation into the matter. The report also alleged that Ward shuttled his wife around on military vehicles, and relied on five-car motorcades for himself when he made extended jaunts to the US.

The latest scandal involving Gen. Ward comes on the heels of the highly-publicized affair between CIA Chief David Petraeus and his biographer that led to his resignation on Friday. Tuesday morning, Gen. John Allen, the United States’ top commander in Afghanistan, was linked to the scandal as well.

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