Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Halliburton will pay $16 million for overcharges

The New York Times
Posted on Tue, Feb. 03, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Halliburton Co. said Monday that it would repay the government for overcharges estimated at $16 million for meals served to U.S. troops at a military base in Kuwait last year, but the company did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Pentagon officials declined to give details about the specific allegations except to say that the matter was under review by Pentagon auditors.

The auditors' allegation was first reported Monday by The Wall Street Journal. It came after two other recent disagreements between the Pentagon and Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary that has several major military contracts for work in Iraq and Kuwait.

Halliburton insisted on Monday that the allegations of overcharges for meals were routine questions from the Defense Contracting Auditing Agency and that no conclusions had been reached.

The company noted that it had served more than 50 million meals to soldiers in the past year and that the questions from the auditors dealt with the way Kellogg Brown & Root estimated the number of meals it served.

"This is not about charges," Randy Harl, president and chief executive of Kellogg Brown & Root, said in a statement Monday. "This is about finding a good way to estimate the number of meals so soldiers can be fed."

The dispute focuses on meals served to troops at Camp Arifjan, a sprawling Army logistics hub south of Kuwait City.

The auditors appear to be alleging that Halliburton substantially overestimated the number of meals it would serve and then charged the government for all the meals prepared instead of those served.

Kellogg Brown & Root said it has agreed to reduce its future bills to the government to make up for any overcharges "while the company works with the government to improve the counting method." The statement added that "this is not any sort of 'admission.' It is an agreement to temporarily delay billing" while the matter is investigated.

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