WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Monday issued the following statement in reaction to the latest reports released by the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction (SIGIR). The reports pertain to two contracts entered into by the Army Corps of Engineers, one on behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority for the repair of Iraqi hospitals and the construction of primary health care centers, and the other under the Commander’s Emergency Response Program for the repair of a sewage station in a Baghdad neighborhood.
“The SIGIR’s review of Parsons’ reconstruction contract regrettably provides a quintessential picture of the waste and mismanagement we have experienced in far too many Iraqi reconstruction projects. The Army Corps of Engineers entered the contract without carefully planned projects, and the contractor committed to unrealistic schedules and cost projections. Oversight by both the government and the contractor was extremely weak, and the government routinely paid for invoices without first verifying whether work had even been done. The significant failures by both sides, unfortunately, leaves Iraqis without the level of health care we promised them and at a far greater expense to the American public than should have been.
“Separately, SIGIR found that work on the Al Ghazaliyah sewage station was faulty, incomplete, and created dangerous electrical conditions, and during site visits, the SIGIR team found sewer water backed up in neighborhood streets. Thankfully, this particular type of small project, often awarded to Iraqi contractors to target urgent local needs, generally meets with greater success. But, as this contract demonstrates, even these small, local projects must be carefully monitored.”