A hat tip to Juan Cole for this story in yesterday's 'USA Today'.
Government auditors discovered something odd last year when they reviewed KBR Inc.'s annual cost estimate to provide support services for U.S. troops in Iraq. The contractor proposed charging $110 million for housing, food, water, laundry and other services on bases that had been shut down.
KBR got a contract extension for $3.7 billion, but it agreed (reluctantly, no doubt) to drop the proposed $110 million spending on closed bases and an additional $50 million of duplicate charges and math errors, according to Defense Department records obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.
Linda Theis of the Army Sustainment Command, the agency that oversees KBR's troop-support contract, downplayed the errors. They amount to just 4.3% of the contract amount. This percentage does not indicate a systemic weakness in business systems, she said.
The errors occurred because KBR developed the proposal under a tight schedule, said company spokeswoman Heather Browne.The (Pentagon) contract-review process, Browne said, worked as intended.
Isn't that lovely. KBR were caught out, blatantly overcharging 110 milion dollars, out of thin air, for non-existing services on bases that no longer existed, (isn't that fraud, even if it's a no-bid contract?) And with no repentence, KBR praise the review process, for catching them, red-handed if not red-faced.
As an ex-CEO of Haliburton, KBR's former parent corporation, Dick Cheney would be proud of the way KBR manged to brazen such open cupidity, at taxpayers' expense, when caught by an oversight committee. Their company spokeswoman, Heather Browne could probably get a job in the White House tomorrow.
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