Rubber-Stamping ‘Failed’ Iraq Projects
Posted on Apr 28, 2008
The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction has found a disturbing trend among Iraq rebuilding projects. Far too often, when work is incomplete, U.S. officials will revise or “descope” the terms of the contract to list the project as completed. One example: A $35-million children’s hospital in Basra that is marked completed despite the fact that it’s only 35 percent up and running.
AP via Google:
The special IG’s review of 47,321 reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars found that at least 855 contracts were terminated by U.S. officials before their completion, primarily because of unforeseen factors such as violence and excessive costs. About 112 of those agreements were ended specifically because of the contractors’ actual or anticipated poor performance.
In addition, the audit said many reconstruction projects were being described as complete or otherwise successful when they were not. In one case, the U.S. Agency for International Development contracted with Bechtel Corp. in 2004 to construct a $50 million children’s hospital in Basra, only to “essentially terminate” the project in 2006 because of monthslong delays.
But rather than terminate the project, U.S. officials modified the contract to change the scope of the work. As a result, a U.S. database of Iraq reconstruction contracts shows the project as complete “when in fact the hospital was only 35 percent complete when work was stopped,” said investigators in describing the practice of “descoping” as frequent.