Auditors Reveal $275M Spike in World Cup Stadium, Total Building Cost Reaches $900M

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By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | May 13, 2014 1:15 PM EST

Investigators from Brasilia's Audit Court in Brazil has revealed $275 million spike in construction of Brasilia's World Cup Mane Garrincha stadium. Such amount reflects three-fourths of the project cost that the government auditors have examined.

With the exorbitant price gouge, the total cost of the stadium now almost tripled to $900 million in public funds basically due to alleged fraudulent billing. With these dramatic figures, the stadium is currently ranked as the second most expensive soccer arena in the world after the Wembley Stadium in UK which cost $1.25 billion. The irony is that the Brazilia City has no professional soccer team.

Mane Garrincha Stadium boosts of 288 impressive concrete pillars supporting a high-tech self-cleaning roof.  But within a month to go before the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in June, the construction is still underway with high ambiguity after the corruption reports came out in the open.

The 140-page auditors' report on the stadium also revealed the projected transport costs for the prefabricated stadium was only at $4,700. But the actual billed amount to the construction consortium composed of construction conglomerate Andrade Gutierrez and engineering firm Via Engenharia already skyrocketed to $1.5 million.

The audit report also cited the government also lost $16 million for a five-month delay in the construction of the main part of the stadium. But the government failed to sanction the construction company, Andrade Gutierrez, who caused such delay.

Apart from the hefty spike in the construction cost, auditors also questioned the additional $28 million incurred due to wasteful steel cutting practices. The steel used to construct the World Cup stadium comprised one-fifth of the total expenses. The amount unearthed by the auditors was the biggest cost jacked up so far.

A 12 percent amount of steel was discarded by the building consortium, which was also caused by Andrade Gutierrez. The same company lost five percent of steel in another stadium construction in the Amazon City of Manaus and incurred zero loss at the Cup arena construction in Cuiaba using the same cutting method.  

The auditors also questioned the $2.3 million worth of materials which were listed multiple times on the bills. According to the data analysis conducted by Associated Press, the very companies involved in the stadium construction contributed largely to the cause. During the most recent election, the lead builder of the project increased its political donations by 500 percent.

In an article from Aljazeera, the arbiter at Brasilia's Audit Court Renato Rainha stated: "These donations are making corruption in this country even worse and making it increasingly difficult to fight. These politicians are working for those who financed campaigns."

The founder of the watchdog group Open Accounts Gil Castelo Branco also said: "Is there corruption in the Cup? Of course, without a doubt. Corruption goes where the money is, and in Brazil today, the big money is tied up in the Cup."

Given the enormity of the audit report, it may take years however to finalize the official audit report. As of the moment, no individuals or companies face corruption charges yet on the construction of the World Cup stadium.

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