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KUWAIT: Parliament Members Complain About Halliburton Investigation

The head of a five-member Kuwaiti investigative committee said the U.S. military and Halliburton have failed to fully cooperate in the investigation of a contract for fuel deliveries to Iraq. "We sent them a letter to clarify some points, but we have not received an answer for three months," he said.

by Diana Elias Associated Press
April 4th, 2005

KUWAIT CITY -- Lawmakers investigating claims a Kuwaiti supplier to a Halliburton subsidiary charged too much for fuel deliveries to Iraq are complaining about the lack of support the U.S. military and the American company have provided.

Parliamentarian Ali al-Rashed, who heads the five-member investigative committee, said the lack of cooperation from the U.S. military and Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root "harmed the investigation."

"They (KBR) answered questions and we sent them a letter to clarify some points, but we have not received an answer for three months," al-Rashed told The Associated Press on Sunday. "We consider this lack of cooperation."

Legislators claim Kuwaiti oil supplier Altanmia Marketing Co. made $759,567 a day in net profits from providing KBR with 1,500 tons of fuel a day. State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp., the seller, made $386,910 a day from the contract, the legislators have said.

Parliament set up the probe in February 2004 following approval by the energy minister, Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah, who wanted the truth about the lawmakers' allegations. However, he has said that contracts involving state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp. and Altanmia were proper.

Sheik Ahmed has also said the U.S. Army had asked specifically for Altanmia to provide fuel following the war in Iraq.

Al-Rashed, the lawmaker, said lawmakers believe the Kuwait Petroleum Corp. "harmed" public money by not negotiating a better contract with the U.S. military directly.

He also said the U.S. military has refused to testify before his committee as a witness and KBR would only respond to written questions. He said he hopes the situation changes before the panel delivers its final report to Parliament, scheduled for April 30.

No comment from the U.S. military or KBR was immediately available. American Embassy spokesman Mark Stroh also declined comment because the issue is under U.S. government investigation.

U.S. Department of Defense auditors have found KBR may have overcharged the American military $61 million for deliveries of gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq from May through September of 2003. They also found Altanmia has charged more than twice what Turkish oil suppliers did.

Kuwait, a major ally of Washington in the Gulf, was the launch pad for the war and remains a major logistics base for troops serving in Iraq.

Altanmia has made no public comments, but Halliburton -- Vice President Dick Cheney's former company -- and the Army Corp of Engineers, which oversaw the fuel contract, have said the higher price was justified by dangers faced by fuel convoys and the need to head off Iraqi anger over gasoline shortages. Cheney was Halliburton's chairman from 1995-2000.

Kuwait has been an American ally since a U.S.-led international coalition fought the 1991 Gulf war that liberated it from a seven-month Iraqi occupation under Saddam.



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