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Teaching training facility in Afghanistan abandoned mid-construction with serious health hazards. Contractor sought

A teacher training facility in Afghanistan has been abandoned partway through construction, creating serious hazards for those using the complex. In 2008 the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) embarked on the scheme, selecting Iraqi firm Mercury Development to build three facilities in February 2009 for a $2.9m contract (later increased to $3.4m).

The first of these projects is in Sheberghan but was abandoned by Mercury Development in 2011. A report released today by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) states that: “Despite the contractor’s failure to complete construction and resolve health and safety issues, USACE-TAN closed out the contract and released Mercury from further contractual liability.” A second contractor, Zafarkhaliq, was also released from further contractual liability and a third contractor is now being sought.

During the recent inspection of the occupied property, SIGAR found that: “The facility’s electrical wiring does not meet the U.S. National Electrical Code, as the contract required, and an improper entry, known as a ‘tap’, into the electrical system exposes occupants to potential electrocution and fire hazards. Also, the facility’s water well may have been placed too close to its sewage system, raising potential health issues for the building’s occupants.”

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