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Iraq audit: Parsons wasted tax dollars

July 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The federal government paid a local contractor up to $900 million to help rebuild Iraq. A report released Monday found that company wasted taxpayer dollars.Pasadena-based contractor Parsons was supposed to build much-needed prisons, fire stations, and police facilities in Iraq.

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Instead, much of the work was never done, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Parsons released a statement Monday defending itself.

Parsons is ultimately accused of not only bad management, but poor construction during its time in Iraq, between 2004 and 2006, and ultimately wasting more than $140 million.

The Pasadena-based Parsons is accused by the government of wasting millions of U.S. tax dollars in reconstruction efforts in Iraq, because of poor oversight and building practices.

The government audit claims the Pasadena-based contractor, one of the largest construction contractors in Iraq, was paid $142 million to build fire stations, police academies and prisons that were not completed; in some cases, never built.

The audit claims only about one-third of the Parsons projects were completed. The review also identified multiple instances in which contracts were later awarded to other contractors to fix Parsons' "defective work."

The audit also calls some of the failures were "understandable," according to the report, because of the unstable security environment in Iraq.

The audit is part of a congressionally mandated review of projects by specific U.S. contractors to rebuild war-torn Iraq, following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Projects that were paid for in part from millions of U.S. taxpayer reconstruction dollars.

Monday, Parsons responded with "serious reservations" about the audits, saying: "Although we certainly would have wished for a better work environment and a better outcome in some cases, we did our very best under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. ... Ongoing violence put our employees, contractors, project managers and quality control personnel in harm's way. ... As a result, the workforce was unstable and our progress impeded."

To that end, Parsons said Monday that one of its subcontractors in an Iraq construction zone was shot at close range and killed while sitting in his office.

 

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