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KABUL — Because of poor oversight, U.S. tax payers will end up footing a bill of nearly $400,000 for an incomplete and structurally unsound courthouse in central Afghanistan, according to a report from the top government watchdog in Afghanistan.

The report, released Friday by the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, says the courthouse, located in Parwan province, is unfinished more than two years after scheduled completion and that the construction that has been done is shoddy and could lead to structural failure. The company responsible for the work was paid $396,000 — jointly funded by the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Department of Defense’s Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435 — before the remainder of the $2.67 million contract was terminated, according to the report.

It said the building will have to be demolished at additional cost to the U.S.

The report found that interagency task force’s oversight of the construction project was not conducted as required.

The contract was originally terminated for “convenience,” though, meaning the government was still potentially liable to pay the contractor the remainder of the contract. According to the report, the contract status was changed to “terminated for default” after SIGAR officials contacted the oversight agencies, meaning the government would not be responsible for paying the rest of the sum.

In comments included in the report the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435 largely agreed with SIGAR’s findings.

druzin.heath@stripes.com

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