August 08, 2007

Kidnapping of Filipinos...the video clip

IN case you haven't seen the clip yet, below is the testimony given by Rory Mayberry, a former employee of First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co., at the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee hearing on allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse at the new $600-million US Embassy in Iraq. Mayberry alleges that the company kidnapped Filipinos and other Third World nationals to work on the construction project.

For a background on First Kuwaiti and its labor practices, read the story below. It also talks about an earlier group of Filipinos complaining of mistreatment by the company.

Kuwait Company’s Secret Contract & Low-Wage Labor
by David Phinney, Special to CorpWatch
February 12th, 2006

Work for what is planned to be the largest, most fortified US embassy in the world was quietly awarded last summer to a controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-torn Iraq against their will.

More than a few U.S. contractors competing for the $592-million Baghdad project express bewilderment over why the U.S. State Department gave the work to First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting (FKTC). They claim that some competing contractors possessed far stronger experience in such work and that at least one award-winning company offered to perform all but the most classified work for $60 million to $70 million less than FKTC.

“It's stunning what First Kuwaiti has been able to get from the State Department,” one contractor said.

Several other contractors that competed for the embassy contracts shared similar reactions and believe that a high-level decision at the State Department was made to favor a Kuwait-based firm in appreciation for Kuwait's support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

“It was political,” said one contractor.

Mohammad I. H. Marafie, chairman and co-owner of FKTC, is a member of one of the most powerful mercantile families in Kuwait.

(Click CorpWatch for the rest of the story.)

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