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Report blasts Army Engineers for paying contractor despite lingering problems

WASHINGTON -- The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction has found that despite a 2010 report warning of structural failures and other serious issues at an Afghan National Army base in Kunduz province, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers settled with the contractor that did the work but did not fix the problems.

The Corps “did not address the soil instability issues recommended in our prior report, and we observed additional structural failures, improper site grading and new sink holes,” John Sopko wrote in his report to top commanders in Afghanistan and the Corps.

The report features photos of buildings with gaping cracks in the wall and areas where water is not draining properly. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan reconstruction, asked Corps commander Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick to justify the cost of further repairs, submit the settlement proceedings for review and explain in writing why the settlement was determined to be “fair and reasonable.”

The Corps was given $72.8 million to build an Afghan National Army post and awarded two contracts to DynCorp International to do the work. But after the SIGAR’s 2010 report found several serious stability and structural problems at the site, the Corps paid DynCorp $70.8 million and released it from further liabilities and obligations, according to the SIGAR report.

“This was clearly a final settlement… that appears to be on unfavorable terms to the U.S. government,” the report states.

The Corps has responded to a draft of the report, agreed with the recommendations and is addressing the stability issues, the report states.

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