(CNSNews.com) – A luxury hotel and upscale apartment building constructed across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan cost U.S. taxpayers $85 million but the two facilities were not completed and now sit abandoned, reported Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), citing an audit by the Office of the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
Further, said Sen. Paul in a statement, “Now we’ve discovered that it’s so unsafe that snipers could crawl up it and shoot down on our embassy that now we have to send soldiers over there to risk life and limb to patrol it to keep it free of snipers.”
He also told ABC13 News that his sources say the hotel will likely be torn down, which will cost taxpayers even more money.
Loans for the Marriott Kabul Hotel project ($57,771,796.00) were made by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. government agency, which also loaned an additional $27 million for the apartment building.
The $57.7 million went to Jordanian citizen Fathi Taher and his U.S. sponsor, General Systems International, to build a 209-room, five star hotel across the street from the U.S. Embassy.
The $27 million was also loaned to Taher and his other sponsor, Apus Apartments LLC, to build the apartment complex next to the hotel.
The Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found both the hotel and apartment building deficient. There are buildings and rooms with no doors, windows or flooring, and there are cracks in the walls that supposedly are newly constructed.
In summary, the Inspector General report found the hotel “is unfinished and appears to be abandoned.”
The IG also found “troubling management practices and lax oversight by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).” The report says “the loans for both projects were disbursed in increments over time based on progress reports submitted by the borrowers.”
However, the report found that “OPIC did not regularly visit the sites or have an on-site monitoring but instead relied almost exclusively on representations made by the loan recipients.”
“As a result, the $85 million in loans is gone, the buildings were never completed and are uninhabitable, and the U.S. Embassy is now forced to provide security for the site at additional cost to U.S. taxpayers,” states the IG report
In April, Sen. Paul’s Federal Spending Oversight Subcommittee conducted on-the-ground oversight of U.S. spending in Afghanistan, including four off-site visits in the country.