The U.S. government has squandered millions of dollars intended for police training programs in Iraq because of rampant problems overseeing contractors, say federal reviews quoted by the Washington Post. Contractors building a camp for American trainers constructed an Olympic-size swimming pool that wasn’t ordered. Human waste leaks from plumbing fixtures at a barracks for Iraqi police recruits, a year after the problem was identified and despite assurances from the contractor that the problem was being fixed.
The police training program has been repeatedly flagged by U.S. officials as crucial to the war effort. While yesterday’s reports by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction do not address the training, they find major flaws with how both the government and its contractors attempted to build the program’s facilities. At the $73 million Baghdad Police College, inspectors uncovered numerous examples of shoddy construction, including ones that pose potential health problems to Iraqi recruits. The problems, some of which were first reported in September, had still not been fixed when inspectors returned to the site months later for follow-up inspections. Auditors said the contractor, California-based Parsons, knew about the plumbing problems as early as a year ago but failed to correct them.