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Halliburton CEO declines invitation to testify before Congress
20 July 2004

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Summary of Houston Chronicle Article) -- Halliburton CEO David Lesar declined an invitation by Congress to testify about the company's numerous contracting abuses in Iraq and Kuwait. In June, the House Committee on Government Reform asked Halliburton's top executives to testify about the growing number of government investigations, contracting abuses and bribery that continue to beleaguer the company. Halliburton, the largest U.S. Army contractor, says it will send low-ranking employees, rather than the CEO or other executives, to testify before the committee, which is scheduled for July 22.

"We believe the best way to assist the committee in their oversight efforts is by making available the people who are directly responsible for our projects in Iraq/Kuwait," Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall told the Houston Chronicle. The hearing will be the first time Halliburton has ever testified before Congress. The company carries out numerous duties for the U.S. government in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, but those activities have been marred by overcharges, bookkeeping problems and outrageous expenditures. Moreover, an Illinois grand jury is investigating two former Halliburton employees who accepted bribes from a Kuwaiti subcontractor as part of an alleged scheme to overcharge the military.

Halliburton employees scheduled to testify are Alfred Neffgren, chief operating officer of the Americas region; William Walter, director of government compliance; Charles "Stoney" Cox, the former project director for the Restore Iraqi Oil program; and Keith Richard, regional project manager for the Theater Transportation Mission.

Whistleblowers are also scheduled to testify before the committee. They accuse Halliburton of abandoning $85,000 trucks because of a flat tire and charging U.S. taxpayers $45 for per case of soda and $100 per 15-pound bag of laundry.