"This team of 10 auditors, criminal investigators and acquisition experts are starting with a sampling of the roughly 6,000 contracts worth $2.8 billion issued by an Army office in Kuwait that service officials have identified as a hub of corruption.
"The office, located at Camp Arifjan, buys gear and supplies to support U.S. troops as they move in and out of Iraq. The pace of that operation has exploded since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003."
This comes in the wake of the recent suspicious death of Lt. Colonel Marshall Gutierrez at Camp Arifjan, a whistleblower who accused Kuwait-based Public Warehousing of rampant overcharging. In what sounds like a set up job, Gutierrez was then charged with extortion of $3,500 by Public Warehousing, ending up in confinement at Camp Victory in Kuwait awaiting a court martial, and then, dead (The Wall Street Journal featured the story 10-21/22/07, "Inside the Greed Zone.")
Publicly traded Public Warehousing is one of the largest transport companies in the world, according to the Journal, and with more than $6 billion in U.S. contracts, "is designated a prime vendor for virtually all food served to U.S. forces in Iraq and Kuwait."
"Investigators suspect the military wound up paying inflated prices for everything from preserved milk to lobster tails. . ." Are soldiers eating lobster tails?
The Journal article mentions a "party house" run by one Saudi catering company, Tamimi Global, where bribes reportedly occur. We wonder if there is linkage to the bin Laden family. If there were, it would point up what a pathetic board game this entire Iraq venture is.
By way of explanation, The Army Times article says, "(s)igns of trouble include contracts continually awarded to vendors without the usual competition and awards that were competed but went to the bidder with the highest price rather than the lowest. A mismatch between the original product to be purchased and what was actually delivered is another red flag."