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U.S. sues KBR, Kuwaiti subcontractor for false claims on contracts

The Department of Justice sued KBR (KBR) and a Kuwaiti subcontractor for false claims on contracts to house American troops in Iraq. According to the complaint, KBR awarded a subcontract to First Kuwaiti on Oct. 16, 2003, to supply, transport and install 2,252 living containers at Camp Anaconda in Iraq for about $80M. The government alleges that First Kuwaiti was required to complete delivery and installation of the trailers at Camp Anaconda by Dec. 15, 2003. The government further alleges that in July 2004, First Kuwaiti presented two claims to KBR contending that government-caused delays in providing military escorts for convoys into Iraq entitled the company to an increase in the contract price to cover its increased costs. According to the complaint, KBR agreed to pay First Kuwaiti an additional $48.8M and passed that cost on to the United States. The government’s complaint alleges that First Kuwaiti knowingly inflated its crane and truck costs, among other items, and misrepresented the cause of its delays. The United States is suing KBR and First Kuwaiti under the False Claims Act. The act holds persons responsible for presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for gov ernment money or property they know are false. The statute entitles the government to recover three times its damages, plus a $5,500 to $11,000 civil penalty for each false claim.