[Vision2020] Plumbing Sinks Iraqi Police College
thansen at moscow.com
Thu Sep 28 05:53:27 PDT 2006
>From today's (September 28, 2006) Spokesman Review -
"'They may have to demolish everything they built,' said Robert DeShurley, a
senior engineer with the inspector general's office. 'The buildings are
falling down as they sit.'"
Plumbing sinks Iraqi police college
U.S. firm accused of poor construction
Amit R. Paley
September 28, 2006
PBAGHDAD, Iraq - A $75 million project to build the largest police academy
in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health
risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S.
investigators have found.
The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts aimed at
preparing Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly
constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student
barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water
dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed "the rain forest."
"This is the most important civil security project in the country - and it's
a failure," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for
Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. "The Baghdad
police academy is a disaster."
Bowen's office plans to release a 27-page report today detailing the most
alarming problems with the facility.
Even in a $21 billion reconstruction effort that has been marred by cases of
corruption and fraud, failures in training and housing Iraq's security
forces are particularly significant because of their effect on what the U.S.
military has called its primary mission here: to prepare Iraqi police and
soldiers so that Americans can depart.
Federal investigators said the inspector general's findings raise serious
questions about whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has failed to
exercise effective oversight over the Baghdad Police College or
reconstruction programs across Iraq, despite charging taxpayers management
fees of at least 4.5 percent of total project costs. The Corps of Engineers
said Wednesday that it has initiated a wide-ranging investigation of the
police academy project.
The report serves as the latest indictment of Parsons Corp., the American
construction giant, which was awarded about $1 billion for a variety of
reconstruction projects across Iraq. After chronicling previous Parsons
failures to properly build health clinics, prisons and hospitals, Bowen said
he now plans to conduct an audit of every Parsons project.
"The truth needs to be told about what we didn't get for our dollar from
Parsons," Bowen said.
A spokeswoman for Parsons said the company had not seen the inspector
The Coalition Provisional Authority hired Parsons in 2004 to transform the
Baghdad Police College, a ramshackle collection of 1930s buildings, into a
modern 650-acre facility whose training capacity would expand from 1,500
recruits to at least 4,000. The contract called for the firm to remake the
campus by building, among other things, eight three-story student barracks,
two classroom buildings and a central laundry facility.
Complaints about the new facilities began pouring in two weeks after the
recruits moved in at the end of May.
The most serious problem was substandard plumbing that caused human waste
from toilets on the second and third floors to cascade throughout the
building. The waste products threatened the integrity of load-bearing slabs,
federal investigators concluded.
"When we walked down the halls, the Iraqis came running up and said, 'Please
help us. Please do something about this,' " Bowen recalled.
Phillip Galeoto, director of the Baghdad Police College, wrote an Aug. 16
memo that bullet-pointed at least 20 separate problems: shower and bathroom
fixtures that leaked from the first day of occupancy, concrete and tile
floors that heaved more than two inches off the ground, water rushing down
hallways and stairwells because of improper slopes or drains in bathrooms,
classroom buildings with foundation problems that caused structures to sink.
Galeoto noted that one complete building and five floors in others had to be
shuttered for repairs, limiting the capacity of the college by up to 800
The Parsons contract, which eventually totaled at least $75 million, was
terminated on May 31 "due to cost overruns, schedule slippage, and
sub-standard quality," according to a Sept. 4 internal military memo. But
rather than fire the Pasadena, Calif.-based company for cause, the contract
was halted for "the government's convenience."
Col. Michael Herman - deputy commander of the Gulf Region Division of the
Corps of Engineers, which was supposed to oversee the project - said the
Iraqi subcontractors hired by Parsons were being forced to fix the building
problems as part of their warrantee work, at no cost to taxpayers. He said
four of the eight barracks have been repaired.
Federal investigators who visited the academy last week, though, expressed
concerns about the structural integrity of the buildings and worries that
fecal residue could cause a typhoid outbreak or other health crisis.
"They may have to demolish everything they built," said Robert DeShurley, a
senior engineer with the inspector general's office. "The buildings are
falling down as they sit."
Seeya round town, Moscow.
"I love my country but fear my government."
- Author Unknown
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