By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 17, 2008
An Afghan construction company and eight of its employees filed a federal lawsuit against Falls Church-based DynCorp International, alleging that the large government contractor engaged in fraud, threatened workers and took $2.5 million worth of equipment and materials that belonged to it.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia, states that after being awarded a contract worth $50 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 to build a military base for Afghan troops in Jalalabad, DynCorp hired Mainawal Rahman Building & Construction (MBC) as a subcontractor on the deal.
As part of the contract, MBC was to be paid $12 million, but it says DynCorp still owes it an estimated $7 million in unpaid invoices and expenses.
In the lawsuit, MBC alleges that DynCorp fired it from the project in August without notice and days later sent security guards, armed with "AK-47 assault rifles at the 'ready' position," to a camp where MBC workers lived, ordering 135 of them to leave in one hour and abandon their equipment.
DynCorp provides law enforcement training, construction management and translation services in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year, nearly 40 percent of DynCorp's roughly $2.1 billion in revenue came from work it did on contracts in those two countries.
DynCorp spokesman Douglas L. Ebner said the company ended its contract with MBC because it "had performance issues" with MBC's work. He declined to elaborate and said DynCorp had been "in discussions" with MBC about "equipment left at the site and outstanding invoices, but then they moved precipitously to a lawsuit."
Bruce J. Huffman, a spokesman for the Army Corps in Afghanistan, said the military base was only 50 percent finished and a month behind schedule.