Thursday 18th of April 2024

Halliburton Iraq Overcharges Hidden In Australia?

As Halliburton-KBR is accused of massive construction overcharges in Iraq I wonder how much the Adelaide office has been involved.  For around five years this building was the Halliburton/KBR's Global Headquarters for Infrastructure (sorry, I'm not a good signwriter).  As this was in the period before and after the Coalition's occupation of Iraq, you'd have to assume that a lot of the contentious paperwork would have passed through this building on its way from Iraq to Houston.

KBR_global_hq.jpg Photo: Adelaide Indymedia

A report released last week by the US Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The International Herald Tribune has reported that

The highest proportions of overhead were incurred in oil-facility
contracts won by KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as
Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has been challenged often in Congress
and elsewhere because of its problems with projects in Iraq.

What happened, according to the report was that the US sent KBR and other infrastructure contractors to Iraq before they were able to carry out any work.  There the men and machinery sat and waited.  "The government blew the whistle for these guys to go to Iraq and the
meter ran," said Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the inspector general's
office. "The government was billed for sometimes nine months before
work began."

The report also states that the actual costs for many projects could be even higher than the
estimates, the report says, because the United States has not properly
tracked how much such expenses have taken from the $18.4 billion of
taxpayer-financed reconstruction approved by Congress two years ago.  

The IHT also says that "The report does not explain why KBR's overhead costs on those
contracts, for about $296 million, were more than 10 percent higher
than any of the other companies audited. "

Perhaps the Inspector-General's office should be asking for paperwork held at the Greenhill Road  office to be handed in for auditing?  They'll have to be quick though, as President Bush last week abolished this particular mechanism for discovering infrastructure overcharging.

Through the presence of the Infrastructure G-HQ Australia may have a larger role in this tale of international overspending than we care to admit.  However, it's possible that in the same way that Halliburton used its Cayman Islands office as a forwarding office to its Houston Headquarters, paperwork flowing to and from Iraq only passed through Adelaide as a matter of corporate convenience.

 

the value of profiteering .....

‘Halliburton Corp., the oil field services company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, breached the terms of its multibillion dollar contract to provide US soldiers logistical support in Iraq when one of its subcontractors outsourced security work to Blackwater USA, according to new documents released Friday by Congressman Henry Waxman.

In a December 7 letter to outgoing defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Waxman alleged that taxpayers have been paying sky-high prices for Blackwater's services, which were not authorized under the terms of Halliburton's contract with the US Army. Waxman said he could not ascertain the exact cost of Blackwater's work, because the Army has refused to respond to questions about the deal for the past two years.

Waxman contends Halliburton was fully aware that its subcontractor ESS Support Services, food supplier to the military, hired armed guards employed by Blackwater to provide security for its convoys.

Under the terms of its $16.5 Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, its employees and its subcontractors are prohibited from carrying weapons without prior approval from the military.

Halliburton and Blackwater are two of the most controversial corporations working in Iraq. Halliburton has been accused of grossly inflating the costs of its services in Iraq. The company has overcharged taxpayers for fuel and food, and most recently has refused to turn over documents to a government auditor who became suspicious that the company was taking advantage of taxpayers by overstating the true cost of its work. Last month, Halliburton agreed to pay an $8 million fine to the Justice Department for overcharging the US Army for work it did in the Balkans while Cheney was chief executive of the company. Prior to the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, Halliburton was inching dangerously close to filing for bankruptcy as a result of billions of dollars in asbestos settlements. In the three and a half years since the start of the war, Halliburton's profits have increased by nearly 500 percent.’

Top Democrat: Halliburton Violated Multibillion Dollar Iraq Contract