(Updates with General Casey’s comment in 10th and 11th paragraphs, McCaskill comment in third paragraph from end.)
By Tony Capaccio
May 6 (Bloomberg) — KBR Inc. was selected for a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through 2011 for military support services in Iraq, the Army said.
The Army announced its decision yesterday only hours after the Justice Department said it will pursue a lawsuit accusing the Houston-based company of taking kickbacks from two subcontractors on Iraq-related work. The Army also awarded the work to KBR over objections from members of Congress, who have pushed the Pentagon to seek bids for further logistics contracts.
The Justice Department said the government will join a suit filed by whistleblowers alleging that two freight-forwarding firms gave KBR transportation department employees kickbacks in the form of meals, drinks, sports tickets and golf outings.
“Defense contractors cannot take advantage of the ongoing war effort by accepting unlawful kickbacks,” Assistant Attorney General Tony West said in a statement.
KBR, the Army’s largest contractor in Iraq, will review the litigation when it is received and “will continue to cooperate with the government,” company spokeswoman Heather Browne said in an e-mail. “Gifts of dinners, baseball tickets and similar items would violate KBR policies and KBR was not aware of these violations.”
KBR will continue to provide services in Iraq such as housing, meals, laundry, showers, water purification and bathroom cleaning under the new order, which was placed under a military contract KBR won in late 2001, shortly after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.