A multi-million dollar U.S.-funded construction project to build a teacher training facility in Afghanistan remains years behind schedule and marred by shoddy construction work and dangerous conditions, a government watchdog has found.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction detailed the findings in a report released Wednesday after inspecting a teacher training facility built in the northern Afghan city of Sheberghan.
Calling the U.S.-funded project an example of broken promises and unfulfilled results, the IG found contract close out files reflect the fact work was finished, even though a host of electrical problems and other issues remained unresolved.
What’s more, aside from a lack of plumbing, the windows came from a company in Iran, a barred purchase under federal procurement rules.
The IG called for the Army Corps of Engineers to provide an explanation on why officials released contractor Mercury Construction, an Iraqi company, from liability when so many problems remained.
Mercury was awarded a $2.9 million contract, though the payout increased to $3.4 million after 9 modifications. Over the span of the contract, which began in February 2009, the Army Corps sent the company 62 letters regarding performance issues before the contractor “walked away from the project with unfinished work,” according to the IG’s inspection report.
In a response to the report, the Army Corps said it planned to conduct a review of the circumstances of the contract closeout.
You can read the full report and agency response here.