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Britain hires US-blacklisted company to sell off army kit

Published time: March 11, 2014 17:04
Edited time: June 27, 2014 08:38
AFP Photo / Dibyangshu Sarkar

AFP Photo / Dibyangshu Sarkar

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has hired a Kuwaiti firm blacklisted by the US government to sell off its leftover equipment in Afghanistan. Agility Logistics landed an army contract to set up desert auctions for gear not valuable enough to take back.

Auctions are held in Camp Bastion in the southeastern Helmand Province, and include Land Rovers, dumper trucks and more obscure items such as a portable laundry – but not weapons or live ammunition. By last October it emerged that some 85,000 items had already been sold.

The cost of the unsold equipment – bringing items back to the UK or renovating them, should they have not been sold – could have totaled as much as $3.3 billion, a cost deemed too high by the UK government.

The MoD issued the contracts to Agility in 2012 despite the fact that in 2009, the company was arraigned by a Grand Jury on suspicion of defrauding the US military. It was alleged that the sum to which they defrauded the government totaled some $60 million.

“As a result of this case, Agility and its subsidiaries have been placed on the US government’s Excluded Parties List. That means they are temporarily suspended from pursuing and performing new US government contracts and task orders,” said a statement released by the company during the case.

US authorities are continuing their case against the company, which had landed the contracts to supply food to US bases in both Iraq and Kuwait. Agility Logistics reportedly manipulated prices, yet continue to deny any fraudulent activity.

While the case began as a private lawsuit, brought against the company as it was trading under its former name, Public Warehousing Company (PWC), the US investigated the initial claims by Kamal Mustafa Al-Sultan – the owner of another Kuwaiti company partnering PWC – and joined the lawsuit after examining the accusations.

“We will not tolerate fraudulent practices from those tasked with providing the highest quality support to the men and women who serve in our armed forces,”
the Department of Justice said in 2009.

A spokesperson for Britain’s MoD issued a response to the Independent late Monday: “We adhere to strict procurement regulations and all our potential contractors are thoroughly scrutinized. Agility were awarded the contract following an open competition because they scored highest and offered the best value for money. We are aware of the US indictment against their parent company but they have not been convicted and excluding Agility from the tender process would have breached EU procurement regulations,” the ministry said.

Agility vice president Jim Cox told the Independent that “prices” not their “performance” were the reasons why they were picked.

A Financial Times analysis in March 2013 revealed the companies which had profited most from the Iraq invasion. It found that the top 10 contractors reaped some $72 billion worth of business collectively. Agility Logistics specifically landed 10 percent of the final figure with $7.2billion worth of contracts alone.

The paper noted that at times there were more contractors than military personnel on the ground.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged that no UK troops will remain in Afghanistan in a combat role by the end of 2014.

Comments (12)

 

Roland Lawrence 05.06.2014 11:20

Interesting. Seeing that a shipping container from China to the UK costs around £800 (max 30 tones). I would love to know how they come to the figure of £3.3bn?

Seems like a purposely inflated figure to sell off equipment at below actual value. Mostly the equipment will stay put to be used by the "private defence contractors". Privatised armies are the way forward for the UK and USA.

 

truthseeker 12.03.2014 17:46

[quote name='Steve Jones' time='12.03.2014 17:33']When RT gets it wrong so many time and their constant abuse of using only biased sources and anonymous authors, is why the world doesn't trust them or ever will. RT hides behind the Russian government when it comes to any accountability.[/quo te]

So enlighten us Steve with some links or sources to disprove this "horrible propaganda"

Essentially.. PUT UP OR SHUT UP

 

fran7 12.03.2014 16:23

King Arthur is exactly right. hypocrisy reigns wild in the USA and UK. Blair and Bush who are war criminals for their lies should at the very least foot the bill for the catastrophic Iraq war. Ukraine is a good example of propaganda nonsense which Kerry is spouting. USAs own constitution forbids helping regimes who oust legitimately elected leaders but Obama is backing the Kiev thugs who did exactly that and by use of extreme violence.

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