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Warrior
Jun 15th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Halliburton 'mismanaged $8bn in Iraq'By Joshua Chaffin in WashingtonPublished: June 14 2004 20:48 | Last Updated: June 14 2004 20:48http://news.ft.com/c.gif .l { visibility: hidden; display: block; } http://news.ft.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobcol=urlimage&blobheader=image%2Fjpeg&blobkey=id&blobtable=Picture&blobwhere=100000020526
A Pentagon audit has found wide-spread deficiencies in the way Halliburton tracks billions of dollars of government contracts in Iraq and Kuwait, leading to "significant" overcharges.

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The findings have been bolstered by graphic accounts from former employees who have told a US congressman that the company's subcontractors charged $100 (83, 55) to launder a 15-pound bag of clothing and abandoned $85,000 trucks when they suffered flat tyres.

Critics say Halliburton, an oilfield services company formerly headed by Dick Cheney, the vice-president, has mismanaged more than $8bn of Iraq contracts. They will also raise further questions about the Pentagon's increased reliance on private contractors to handle services, from providing meals to fuel delivery.

Henry Waxman, a Democratic congressman, published the findings before a hearing on Tuesday in the House committee on government reform. Mr Waxman wrote on Monday to Tom Davis, the Republican committee chairman, that the whistleblower testimony and the findings of the Pentagon and congressional auditors "portray a company and a contracting environment that has run amok".

Mr Waxman also said the committee was neglecting its duty by not allowing the whistleblowers to testify, with the majority undecided whether they are credible. A spokesman for the committee said they were checking the whistleblowers' credibility. "We have never said 'no', just 'not yet'," he said, in reference to the possibility that they might testify before the committee.

Halliburton has been a lightning rod for critics of the Bush administration since it emerged in March 2003 that the politically connected company was awarded a contract worth up to $7bn to fight oil fires in Iraq without competition. The company's Kellogg Brown & Root division has billed the Pentagon $4.5bn under a separate logistics contract for work in Iraq and Kuwait.

The latest Pentagon audit, prepared in May, follows a January report that found "systemic deficiencies" in the way the company accounted for costs in Iraq that were passed on to the US government. The new report says the company failed to monitor subcontractors adequately. "The cost impact to the government is indeterminable; however, we consider the potential impact to be significant based on the size of KBR's operations," it concludes.

KBR said in written responses to the Pentagon audit that it was in the process of upgrading accounting procedures in Iraq. The company did not immediately respond to the whistleblowers.

Marie de Young, a Halliburton logistics specialist, told Mr Waxman's office she was discouraged by managers when she raised questions about the exorbitant prices for laundry and five-star hotels. Ms de Young was told, she said, that she was providing too much information to Pentagon auditors, and concluded that the corporate culture was one of "intimidation and fear".

James Warren, a former KBR truck driver, claims he was fired a few weeks after he called Randy Harl, the division's chief executive, to complain about widespread theft and the abandoning of trucks because of simple maintenance problems.

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Warrior
Jun 16th, 2004, 06:10 PM
HalliburtonWatch: Pentagon Broke Contract Laws To Help Halliburton
WASHINGTON - June 15 - The GAO told Congressional investigators today that Pentagon officials "overstepped the latitude provided by competition laws" before the war by awarding oil-related work to Halliburton under a pre- existing global logistics contract (LOGCAP).

Testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform hearing confirmed today that Bush administration political appointees overruled career contracting officials in the Pentagon by giving Halliburton the oil-related task order months before the invasion of Iraq.

The hearing came two days after Pentagon officials admitted that Pentagon political appointees notified Vice President Cheney's chief of staff of the decision to award Halliburton a no-bid contract to repair Iraq's oil infrastructure.

Contracting experts say it is highly unusual for political appointees to be involved in the contracting process since contracts are normally awarded by career civil servants with expertise in government contracting. Involvement by Cheney's chief of staff in the contracting process contradicts Cheney's assertion that he had no role in awarding contracts to his former company.

At the same time, the committee's failure to call Halliburton whistleblowers to testify underscores Congress' continuing failure to hold the company accountable for contracting abuses and potential fraud.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) refused to allow five former Halliburton employees with additional evidence of waste, fraud and abuse to testify today. The former employees (as well as an employee of a Halliburton subcontractor) have brought serious charges of abuse by Halliburton subsidiary KBR to the attention of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), including billing $45 per six pack of soda, the use of a five-star hotel in Kuwait, a $100 charge per bag of laundry, and the torching of brand new $80,000 trucks.

The abuses are spelled out in a new letter sent by Rep. Waxman yesterday to Davis, and posted at: http://www.halliburtonwatch.org (http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/)

"While the Bush administration failed to adequately plan for the safety of our troops -- as proven by its failure to provide sufficient body armor -- it made certain that Halliburton would make a killing long before the war began," said HalliburtonWatch project coordinator Jim Donahue.