By Richard Lardner
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A defense contractor hired to repair combat equipment routinely failed to do the job right and then charged the government millions of dollars for the extra work needed to get the gear ready for battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a newly released audit.
Overall, the contractor's employees at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait worked about 188,000 additional hours to fix Humvees, heavy transporters and fighting vehicles that allegedly were mended but flunked a military inspection, the Government Accountability Office said.
The GAO estimates the Army paid $4.2 million for the additional labor. Under the terms of the $581 million contract, the company is to be paid for all maintenance hours worked. That includes "labor hours associated with maintenance performed after the Army rejects equipment that fails to meet Army maintenance standards," said the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.
The contractor is not named in the GAO audit, though the contract number is. The Federal Procurement Data System, a Web site that tracks government contracts, shows ITT Federal Services International of Colorado Springs, Colo., as the company performing the work.
In a statement, ITT spokesman Tom Glover said the company does not agree with the GAO's conclusions.
"We have taken numerous corrective actions and have dramatically improved our performance," Glover said. "We believe that we have met the requirements of the contract and have fully supported the mission needs of the U.S. Army."