The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has terminated a pair of high-dollar reconstruction contracts in Iraq, saying the work on a prison facility and electrical generation capacity had failed to meet requirements.
Contracts with Parsons Global Services Inc. and United Services totaled several hundred million dollars, officials said Tuesday. Parsons was responsible for building the Khan Bani Saad Correctional Facility and a similar prison near Nasiriyah; the contract for the second prison is also now being reviewed.
The Khan Bani Saad contract was worth $99.1 million, officials said, and was more than two years behind schedule, millions over budget and essentially abandoned.
Parsons has been under increasing scrutiny after contracts totaling more than $300 million to build and refurbish hospitals and clinics were canceled several weeks ago. Investigators who oversee the reconstruction process reported that only 20 of the 150 hospitals or clinics in the contracts could be completed without new financing.
According to the company’s Web site, Parsons’ contracts in Iraq approached $4 billion.
“The decision is based on failure to achieve critical completion dates resulting in increased cost, which would be unaffordable,” a news release from the Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Region Division read.
“Construction continues via a bridge contract re-awarded … to the on site Iraqi firm. The contract is fixed-price and calls for continuation of work and site security, while GRD expects to re-award the completion of the entire project.”
Col. Andrew Knapp, the district’s Facilities and Transportation section chief, was quoted as saying “Iraqi companies continue to demonstrate the willingness and capability to take on much of this type of work. We are executing more and more direct contracts with Iraqi companies across the infrastructure sectors we are working.”
In an e-mail statement to the New York Times, a Parsons spokeswoman said, “Parsons performed our work in Iraq in conformance with the contract terms and the direction given to us by the U.S. government. We’re extremely proud of our dedicated employees who have performed very well under extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances.”
In a second announcement released Tuesday, the corps said the United Services electricity contract was pulled because of “failure to perform in accordance with contract specifications.”
Lack of electricity has long topped Iraqis’ complaints, particularly in Baghdad, where power in some areas is available for only a few hours a day during the sweltering summer. United’s contract called for them to “assist in the day-to-day running of the Ministry of Energy’s power plants and the overall system.”
“The operation and maintenance program effort will continue as the project will be reprocured with another contractor within the current budget,” said Col. William Ryan, the GRD sector chief for electricity.
The corps says it still intends to complete some 3,700 reconstruction projects in Iraq, despite reports from inspectors general finding waste, delays and fraud in many of those contracts.