The US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday on allegations of waste, fraud and abuse at the new US embassy in Iraq (which is now around the same size as Vatican City). Construction of the embassy, which so far sports a $600 million price tag, is being overseen by a Kuwaiti firm since according to the US State Department, no US company would meet their terms. Most of the testimony given at the hearing accused First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co., the company in charge of the construction, of essentially kidnapping workers and forcing them to build the embassy under poor conditions.
Rory Mayberry, a medical technician who worked at the embassy site under a First Kuwaiti subcontract, offers his testimony below.
First Kuwaiti declined the committee’s invitation to testify and are now under investigation by Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department for the allegations brought forward in the hearing.
The Inspector General of the State Department who did attended a session of the hearing was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “Nothing came to our attention that caused us to believe that trafficking-in-persons violations” or other serious abuses “occurred at the construction workers’ camp at the new embassy compound.”