Some $500,000 in U.S. taxpayer money was wasted on a police training facility in Afghanistan that "melted" within four months of being built, a watchdog commission reported.
The report released by the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says findings show that a police training center’s dry fire range (DFR), which was commissioned by the U.S. government, began to disintegrate after its completion in 2012.
"This project was an utter failure and embarrassment to the U.S. government and the American taxpayer still doesn’t know why they paid for it,” Inspector General John Sopko said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “As long as federal agencies fail to take oversight seriously, these sorts of projects and taxpayer dollars will continue to melt away."
The DFR was designed to look like a typical Afghan village for training exercises. It was built under the supervision of a contracting center run by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) which over saw the Afghan contractor, Qesmatullah Nasrat Construction (QNCC).
The report states that the contractor failed to follow contractual requirements and used shoddy materials that caused water to become trapped between the walls, eventually causing the structure to disintegrate and making it look as if it was “melting” away.
The report also alleges that despite the horrendous job, the CENTCOM contracting center accepted the substandard work and never held the contractors accountable.
“Due to the fact that these deficiencies were not corrected, the range’s safety and its long-term sustainability were compromised,” the report said.
Some of the issues of non-compliance from the QNCC were:
- On the roofing structure, only plastic sheeting was used before setting the concrete instead of the required building paper with gravel and asphalt.
- They did not properly slope the roof for water drainage and left gaps on downspouts connected to drainage pipes.
- They used small bricks that did not meet normal requirements for strength. Field analysis also discovered the bricks were made mostly of sand, with little to no clay content that could prevent water penetration.
“Although this project may have been well intentioned, the fact that the Afghans had to demolish and rebuild the DFR is not only an embarrassment, but, more significantly, a waste of U.S. taxpayers’ money,” the report concluded.
SIGAR also recommended that the funds paid should be recovered and federal agencies should decide on fitting disciplinary action against the officials in charge of the oversight.
CENTCOM’s Joint Theater Support Contracting Command responded by saying they plan to take proper action.