The links between Halliburton and the Bush presidency have been well documented, along with the fact that they gained most of the contracts to rebuild Iraq without being subject to competitive tendering. Now a new scandal involving Halliburton and their best buddy - the U.S Government - has erupted.
The Pentagon´s own auditors have reported that Halliburton overcharged the U.S by $108.4m (£56.6m) for its services in Iraq yesterday. There have been numerous requests by Senators (and others) to view the Pentagon audits, but all have been ignored.
Henry Waxman (Democrat) has accused the Bush administration of deliberately withholding information on overcharges by Halliburton from UN auditors at the request of the company as $1.6bn of the $2.5bn Halliburton contract was funded from Iraqi oil revenues overseen by the UN.
"The evidence suggests that the US used Iraqi oil proceeds to overpay Halliburton and then sought to hide the evidence of these overcharges from the international auditors," he stated in a public letter.
For an example, Halliburton charged the Pentagon $27.5m to ship $82,100 worth of cooking and heating fuel to Iraq from Kuwait. This is 335 times the actual cost. The Pentagon auditors said it was "illogical". I call it theft.
The audit only covers one of ten task orders undertaken under the $2.5bn contract that they were gifted without a tender. The auditors stated that the firm misled them, failed to supervise sub-contracts, failed to demonstrate its prices for Kuwaiti fuel were "fair and reasonable", refused repeatedly to provide information on costs of obtaining fuel from Turkey and Jordan, and refused to reveal how it selected its contractors in Kuwait.
Halliburton state "We are disappointed, once again, that selective portions of audit reports have been released publicly even before KBR and the Army have made final reviews of the informationů the facts show that KBR delivered fuel to Iraq at the best value, the best price, and the best terms and in ways completely consistent with government procurement policies."
Of course, they are used to this kind of accusation. After all, both Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), have been investigated on various charges (including fraud) by the U.S. Justice Department, The U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Pentagon, Securities and Exchange Commission, the French Government, and the Nigerian Government.