IRAQ: Pentagon Asked to Investigate if Two Former Halliburton Workers Took Bribes

Possible "inappropriate" contact between former employees and Kuwait subcontractors to be investigated.
Publisher Name: 
Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON - Pentagon officials have been asked to investigate whether two former Halliburton Co. employees working in Kuwait accepted bribes from subcontractors, the company revealed in a filing Friday evening. 

Houston-based Halliburton has asked the Defense Department's Inspector General's Office to examine possible "inappropriate" contact between the former employees and two subcontractors before some contracts were awarded.

"The Inspector General's Office may investigate whether these two employees may have solicited and/or accepted payments from these third-party subcontractors while they were employed by us," the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing provided no further details.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the company has terminated its relationship with the subcontractors.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure this particular scenario doesn't happen again," Hall said.

A Defense Department spokesman said Pentagon officials would oblige any request to investigate potentially inappropriate behavior involving military contracts.

"We take these matters seriously," the spokesman added.

This investigation is but the latest in a series of possible bribery scandals to plague the Houston-based oil-field service, engineering and construction and govern-ment-contracting giant.

Back in January, company auditors uncovered a possible overbilling, eventually estimated at $4 million, involving Kuwaiti subcontractor La Nouvelle Trading & Contracting Co.

An Illinois grand jury is trying to determine whether one or two former company employees received improper payments from La Nouvelle as part of a scheme to overcharge the Army Materiel Command.

Authorities on three continents, meanwhile, are investigating a possible scheme to bribe Nigerian leaders to win a contract to build a huge natural gas plant.

Company officials had revealed earlier this year that they had uncovered notes that indicated Halliburton's M.W. Kellogg Co. and its three partners in the TSKJ consortium considered a plan to pay illegal payments in the hopes of landing the huge Bonny Island pro-ject.

In the Friday filing, the company noted: "We understand from the ongoing governmental and other investigations that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials."

The Justice Department is trying to determine whether Houston's Albert "Jack" Stanley, former chairman of Halliburton subsidiary KBR, may have received improper payments when bidding on foreign projects.

Company officials said the Justice Department probes may cover "an extended period of time" and "may possibly include the construction of a fertilizer plant in Nigeria in the early 1990s."

An attorney for Stanley could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Earlier this year, Halliburton terminated all business ties with Stanley and another former employee, William Chaudan.


AMP Section Name:War & Disaster Profiteering