With all of their reported problems, it’s difficult to justify KBR Inc. getting another large contract in Iraq. The fact that the company is under criminal investigation in the electrocution deaths of military personnel in Iraq should have been considered. KBR was awarded a $35 million contract by the Pentagon to build – of all things – an electrical distribution center and other projects. The Pentagon, in strongly worded correspondence obtained by The Associated Press, rejected the company’s explanation of serious mistakes in Iraq and its proposed improvements. A senior Pentagon official, David J. Graff, cited the company’s “continuing quality deficiencies” and said KBR executives were “not sufficiently in touch with the urgency or realities of what was actually occurring on the ground.”
According to the Corps of Engineers, KBR has earned $615 million on 30 contracts similar to the newest it awarded to the company. The Corps noted that KBR has not been banned or suspended from winning U.S. government contracts. The government can ban firms in cases of fraud, antitrust violations, bribery, tax evasion or for actions that reflect “a lack of business integrity or business honesty,” according to federal rules. Obviously, KBR has not been debarred, suspended, nor have they been proposed for debarment from government contracting. Nevertheless, I don’t believe KBR should have been awarded the latest contract because of the very serious problems involving the politically connected company mentioned above.
Source: Associated Press
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