Friday, June 08, 2007

U.S. Embassy builder investigated for abusing workers

Located across 21 buildings on 104 acres on the banks of the Tigris in Baghdad, the new U.S. Embassy will have its own water wells, electricity and wastewaster-treatment. There will be huge residences for the Ambassador (16,000 sf) and the Ambassador's deputy (9,500 sf), six apartments for senior officials, and two huge office blocks for 8,000 staff. Recreation includes the biggest swimming pool in Iraq, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a cinema, restaurants, tennis courts and an 'American Club' for evening functions. Budgeted at more than one-half billion dollars, the actual construction costs will probably never be known.

WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department is investigating allegations a Kuwaiti company deceived and mistreated foreign workers building the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Investigations by the U.S. military and the U.S. State Department inspector general found no evidence that First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co. had tricked its employees into working in Iraq or were keeping them there against their will by locking up their passports, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Two Americans who had worked at the site told federal prosecutors that the workers from Pakistan and Africa had been mistreated, sources told the Journal.

First Kuwaiti, which is barred from hiring Iraqi workers on the $592 million project, issued a statement denying the allegations.

Read the rest at UPI

Related Link:
Report: Human Traffickers Luring Workers to Iraq