Construction & Megaprojects
Two employees of Desarrollos EnergÃ©ticos SA (DESA) have been arrested and charged with the murder of Berta CÃ¡ceres, an activist who was fighting the Agua Zarca dam on the territory of the indigenous Lenca people in Honduras. DESA was awarded a permit to build the 22 megawatt dam in 2011.
YPF, the Argentinian state-owned oil company, has signed an agreement with Chevron in the U.S. to extract shale gas and oil using fracking technology in the southern Andes mountains. Local environmental and indigenous activists are gearing up for a fight to stop the controversial technology.
An investment branch of the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) aid agency has come under fire for subsidizing Avance Ingenieros to build elite housing projects in El Salvador at the expense of the UK taxpayer, according to an investigation by the Guardian newspaper.
Entergy, one of the largest utilities in the U.S., has enjoyed healthy profits since Hurricane Katrina. Yet its New Orleans subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy, and frightened ratepayers with visions of bills bloated to 140% of their pre-storm size. Now the Fortune 500 company is threatening to pull the plug on New Orleans if it doesn't get a $700 million-plus federal bailout it doesn't actually need.
Some 230 staff are being paid to work at the new Fiona Stanley Hospital in West Australia, even though it will not open to patients till March 2015. The project has been labeled a "privatization disaster" and Serco, the contractor, has come under fire for the soaring costs.
A mysterious fire and a missing activist have contributed to the concerns of Russian activists fighting a new highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The highway is being built by a consortium that involves Vinci, a French construction multinational, and individuals rumored to be close to prime minister Vladimir Putin.
Over a year after a torrent of liquid mud at an Indonesian oil exploration site inundated four villages, killing almost 100 people, the local community is still awaiting clean-up and proper compensation. This is despite the fact that the drilling company is owned by the family of a senior Indonesian minister.
A $3.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail link between Mexico city and the city of Queretaro has been canceled after Enrique PeÃ±a Nieto, the Mexican president, was alleged to have accepted favors from Grupo Higa, a Mexican construction company that was a member of the winning consortium.
This CorpWatch report, by Eliza Strickland and Azibuike Akaba, tells the story of corporate malfeasance and government incompetence two years after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. This is our second report - Big, Easy Money by Rita J. King was the first - and it digs into a slew of new scandals.