Report finds sports construction projects are “perfect storm” for corruption

A report by NGO Engineers Against Poverty has found that large-scale corruption in sports infrastructure has created poor quality builds and inflated costs.

Changing the Game: A Critical Analysis of Large-scale Corruption in Mega-sport Event Infrastructure Projects claims that high costs, lack of monitoring and complex logistics create a "perfect storm for corruption"

Graphic coutesy of Engineers Against Poverty/BWI/Molloy/ITUC

Corruption is present in every stage of the project cycle, according to the report. This includes:

  • Bribery or nepotism during the contract award
  • Bid-rigging to manipulate public tenders
  • Overbilling and artificial claims to inflate construction costs
  • Fraud to mask bad design, under-performance and poor quality.

Engineers Against Poverty suggests the use of open data systems to reduce corruption.

It also suggests setting up channels for whistleblowers to report wrongdoing. The urgency of this recommendation was underscored by the killing of Jimmy Mohlala, a member of the 2010 World Cup organising committee in South Africa. Mohlala was shot by masked gunmen a day before he was due to testify about forged contracts for the Mbombela stadium.

Graphic coutesy of Engineers Against Poverty/Time To Scrap The Olympics

Engineers Against Poverty also suggest that hosting governments should partner with a project preparation organisation during the bidding stage to get a realistic project plan and an accurate budget.

The report follows research from the University of Oxford that found that cost overruns for Olympic Games projects were 156% higher than those of common construction projects, which it put at 20%.

Read the Engineers Against Poverty report here.

Top image courtesy of Unsplash/Joshua Hoehn

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