Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

SIGAR Report Finds Afghanistan Reconstruction Compromised By Security, Corruption

Dan Froomkin Huffington Post  April 30, 2012

An Afghan private security man, part of a private security company called Arya stands guard outside of a guest house in Herat west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2012. The push by Afghanistan's president to nationalize legions of private security guards before the end of March is putting multibillion-dollar aid projects in jeopardy and creating a shaky structure ripe for corruption and abuse, according to companies trying to make the switch.(AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)

WASHINGTON — Afghan reconstruction efforts remain severely hampered even after nearly $100 billion in spending over the last 10 years, according to a new watchdog report. The most immediate challenge seems to stem from the insistence by Afghanistan’s government that the private army of hired guns providing security for ongoing projects be replaced with Afghan locals, who do not appear to be up to the job, the report noted.

The latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (or SIGAR) released on Monday also chronicles how corruption in the country shows no signs of having let up.

The report’s most urgent warning concerns the “imminent transition” from private security contractors (PSC) to the state-owned Afghan Public Protection Force.

Steven J. Trent, the acting special inspector general, expressed concerns that as many as 29 major USAID projects costing nearly $1.5 billion are at risk of full or partial termination “if the APPF cannot provide the needed security.” About half that amount has already been spent.

And whether it can is very much an open question, Trent wrote. The U.S. embassy, the Afghan government and the U.S.-led military forces agreed a year ago to check the progress of the Afghan Public Protection Force at the 6-, 9-, and 12-month marks.

“The 6-month assessment, completed in September 2011, found that the APPF was not ready to assume any of the essential PSC responsibilities to meet contract requirements — such as training, equipping, and deploying guard forces,” the report pointed out. “[T]he December assessment, which would have been at the 9-month mark, has not yet been made public” and “the deadline for the 12-month assessment has passed.”

April 30, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contract Awards, Contract Solicitations, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Contracts Awarded, Department of Defense, ISAF, SIGAR | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contractors see risk in getting security from Afghans

New York Times  February 25, 2012

The order requires that as of March 20, the new Afghan Personal Protection Force, which is under control of the Afghan government, replace all private security contractors for development projects, convoys and commercial businesses in Afghanistan

The order does not require that as of March there be no more American private security contractors in Afghanistan. (Under a waiver, the Afghan Personal Protection Force will not replace private security contractors at NATO and American military bases in Afghanistan until March 20, 2013.)

Federal Times  February 23, 2012

Starting March 20, U.S. contractors doing reconstruction work in Afghanistan will be required to get their security services from a new Afghan government agency.

But contractors are complaining the Afghan agency is charging them excessively high fees for security and putting U.S. contractors at risk by refusing to abide by required federal contracting practices.

As a result, doing business with the new security organization — called the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF) — could force contractors to violate U.S. contracting rules and thus become vulnerable to federal suspension and debarment.

Please see the original and read more here

February 24, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Blacklisted contractor continues receiving government money through Haiti contracts

The Hill  December 2, 2011

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, the U.S. launched an unprecedented relief effort, eventually totaling over one billion dollars. But the lead agency in the immediate aftermath was not the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as is typically the case when our nation provides humanitarian assistance, but the military. Just after the earthquake, the U.S. had over 20,000 troops in Haiti. Of the $1.1 billion in humanitarian funding from the U.S. in 2010, nearly half was channeled to the Department of Defense.

As has been the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, relief efforts have relied heavily on contractors, a number of which have a history of waste, fraud and abuse. An analysis of federal contracts has revealed that Kuwait-based Agility Logistics (formerly PWC Logistics) — currently under indictment for overcharging the U.S. military by up to $1 billion — has benefited from over $16 million in funding awarded in the aftermath of the earthquake.

With so much on the line, the U.S government, across the board, must step up its oversight of contractors to ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted on companies with poor track records.

Agility has been barred from receiving government contracts since November 2009, when a federal grand jury indicted the company for overcharging the U.S. military on $8 billion in contracts to supply food for troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan. Agility was accused of “intentionally failing to purchase less expensive food items, knowingly manipulating and inflating prices, and receiving product rebates and discounts that it did not pass on to the government as required.” The prospect of additional charges still exists.

In November 2009 Agility was added to the U.S.’s Excluded Party List System (EPLS), which prevents them from procuring contracts from any government agency. The EPLS designation has been extended to over 125 related organizations as the investigation has continued; all of them have been indefinitely barred.

Despite the blacklist designation Agility was able to secure government funding for work in Haiti through a joint venture. An analysis of the Federal Procurement Data System shows that Contingency Response Services LLC (CRS) has received over $16 million in government funding from the Department of the Navy since the earthquake. The particularly bland sounding Contingency Response Services consists of three defense contractor giants — Dyncorp, Parsons and Agility Logistics (then PWC logistics).

Please read the entire post at The Hill

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Haiti | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iraq gives amnesty to 2 U.S. corruption suspects

Law stymies USAID cases

By Jim McElhatton The Washington Times

Federal investigators were stymied in two separate probes to uncover corruption involving U.S. aid to Iraq, thanks to an Iraqi amnesty law that allowed the suspects to avoid justice.

The Iraqi suspect in one case was at the center of a bid-rigging scandal tied to more than $750,000 in contracts to supply tents in the country’s Anbar province, according to newly released records.

But after investigators obtained a confession, the suspect “was released due to an Iraqi amnesty program for those committing non-violent offenses prior to February 27, 2008,” according to a 2008 case memo by the office of inspector general for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent federal agency that doles out foreign aid.

In the second case, also in 2008, the inspector general for USAID spent more than 18 months looking into accusations from a confidential source that a USAID contractor was taking kickbacks to foreign-owned subcontractors.

The investigative reports were among 29 case summaries recently released by USAID‘s inspector general to The Washington Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Though investigators uncovered evidence that an Iraqi national had fabricated invoices on the U.S.-taxpayer-funded contract for more than $25,000, the suspect wasn’t arrested.

“Based on the nature of the offense involved in this investigation and consultation with Iraqi judicial and law enforcement authorities, the suspect … falls under the General Amnesty Law,” the USAID inspector general concluded in a case memo.

Please read the full story here

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq, State Department, USAID | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Contractor Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Accepting Secret Payments KABUL, September 12, 2010

Former Contractor Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Accepting Secret Payments KABUL, September 12, 2010

An American citizen and former employee of a U.S. contractor pled guilty in late August to corruption charges stemming from actions he took while working in Afghanistan. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced on August 26 that Daniel Freeman, a former employee of U.S. Army contractor KBR in Afghanistan, pled guilty to charges related to accepting approximately $200,000 in corrupt payments from sub-contractors in Afghanistan and to laundering the illicit funds.

Freeman faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 (or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense) on the  bribery charge and 20 years maximum and a fine upto $500,000 (or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense) on the money-laundering charge.

Mr. Freeman’s sentencing is scheduled for December 9, 2010.
FBI Assistant Director-In-Charge Janice Fedarcyk said, “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate those that try to corrupt the procurement process, no matter where the crime occurs.”

KBR is an engineering, procurement, and construction company which had a contract with the U.S. Army to provide logistics support for the Army in Afghanistan, including providing meals, delivering mail, and transporting supplies and equipment. KBR entered into sub-contracts with Afghan companies worth tens of thousands of dollars each.  Freeman worked for KBR from 2004-2009 and accepted illegal cash payments in order to influence the awarding of those subcontracts.
The United States supports the Afghan Government in its pledge to root out corruption at all levels. The U.S. Government is also committed to identifying and prosecuting Americans who are involved in corrupt activities.  Corruption is a universal problem, and requires professional and independent law enforcement and judicial authorities to prevent it from harming society and preventing development.  The U.S. will continue to support Afghan authorities and leaders at all levels committed to combating corruption.

Visit the Embassy’s Website, http://kabul.usembassy.gov

September 19, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, KBR, Pentagon | , , , , , , | Leave a comment