Army grants Halliburton more time to explain suspicious bills
18 Aug. 2004
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Halliburton announced yesterday that the Army would withhold 15 percent of future payments because of suspicious bills. A few hours later, the Army announced it would not withhold those payments, but would instead give Halliburton more time to explain why it billed taxpayers for work that was apparently never undertaken or completed. The Army's decision is the third time it has extended the deadline for Halliburton to justify undocumented expenses, including $1.8 billion of $4.5 billion that Halliburton charged U.S. taxpayers for work in Iraq and Kuwait, which the Defense Contract Audit Agency recently reported the company has yet to substantiate.###
A military official told the Washington Post that Halliburton receives many extensions to explain its bills because there are not enough people in the government or at Halliburton to review the bills. The official blamed the three extensions on the "magnitude" of Halliburton's contracts, adding that the Army wants to be "fair and equitable" to the company. The official said Halliburton has been given another five days to explain the suspicious bills.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) criticized the decision to extend the deadlines for Halliburton. "The Bush administration is giving Halliburton special treatment yet again," he said in a written statement. "Even after eight critical audit reports by three different government agencies, the Pentagon is still waiving procurement rules and extending deadlines for Halliburton to submit accurate cost information."
Halliburton said it will withhold payments to subcontractors if the Pentagon decides to withhold payments to Halliburton, thereby passing the buck to subcontractors. How this will ultimately affect the troops is unclear.
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