Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Halliburton faulted on oversight in Iraq


Halliburton faulted on oversight in Iraq
Associated Press
November 28, 2004 HALLI1128

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- A third or more of the government property that Halliburton Co. was paid to manage for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq could not be located by auditors, investigative reports to Congress show.

Halliburton's KBR subsidiary "did not effectively manage government property," and auditors could not locate hundreds of CPA items worth millions of dollars in Iraq and Kuwait this summer and fall, Inspector General Stuart Bowen said in two reports to Congress.

Bowen's findings are the latest bad news for Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, which is the focus of both a criminal investigation into alleged fuel price gouging and an FBI inquiry into possible favoritism from the Bush administration.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that FBI agents have extensively interviewed an Army contracting officer who last month went public with allegations that the Bush administration was awarding contracts to Halliburton without competitive bidding. Halliburton and the Pentagon deny wrongdoing and say they are cooperating in all investigations.

Company spokeswoman Cathy Gist said Friday that KBR recently conducted a "wall-to-wall" review of all property it is managing for the Pentagon in war zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and produced results far better than Bowen's findings. "We are pleased to report that this total inventory review confirmed 99.4 percent accountability of all property," she said.

Bowen reported that an audit this summer found that KBR had lost track of more than $18 million worth of equipment in Iraq.