Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Food Contractors In Iraq Involved In Investigation







Taxpayers Get Taken In Another Iraq Ripoff:
Food Distributors Under Investigation

Yet another scandal concerning private contractors in Iraq is being uncovered. This time concerning the companies that have multi billion dollar contracts to provide food to our service personnel.
Two huge corporate conglomerates, Conagra Foods and Sara Lee are involved in an investigation of possible fraud and corruption.
Conagra Foods said it is not the target of a federal investigation into possible fraud and corruption in supplying the U.S. military in Iraq. Both companies deny wrongdoing and are preliminarily being called as witnesses.
Conagra,the maker of Healthy Choice frozen dinners, Hebrew National hot dogs and Peter Pan peanut butter, said it received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Defense in January connected to its dealings with Public Warehousing Co, the Army's primary food supplier.
Sara Lee Corp. is another of the companies involved.
The investigation is being made to find out if these food companies have been charging excessive prices for their food and services.
The Army's primary food contractor in the combat theater is a Kuwaiti firm, Public Warehousing Co.
The investigation is looking into reports that Public Warehousing has appropriated refunds it received from these and other suppliers. Public Warehousing bought vast amounts of meat, vegetables and bakery items from the food companies, and delivered them to U.S. troops.
Criminal fraud in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars is suspected.
Public Warehousing receives more than $1 billion annually to feed troops in Iraq and Kuwait.
The Pentagon’s methods of hiring and paying contractors is also being looked at in the investigation.
This purchasing is done from an established "prime vendor," in this case Public Warehousing.
The vendor is paid on a cost plus basis. That is, the vendor’s cost plus an approved profit margin. It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s wrong with this system. It is in the interests of the vendor to overcharge and to cut corners thus vastly increasing their paid amount and their profits. All this at the expense of our soldiers and sailors in the combat theater and the taxpayers!
It is a violation of Federal law for government contractors to obtain money through false or fraudulent pretenses.
Other aspects of the investigation concern the selection of these ‘prime vendors.’
Some companies seem to enjoy ‘cozy’ relations within the administration or the Pentagon. Others, such as Tyson Foods have been shut out of the process all together.
Could this be because Laura Tyson was a well known supporter of Bill Clinton? Surprised? You shouldn’t be!
Unfortunately this is possibly just the latest chapter in an ages old practice which was once called “war profiteering.” Examples abound throughout history.
For example during the U.S. Civil war the uniforms for the Union soldiers were provided by a big time contractor. The material of these uniforms was so inferior the name has lived on to this day. The material was called “shoddy.”
The civil war had its scandal concerning food as well. Soldiers on both sides were fed a hard, often stale cracker like substance called “hard tack.” Often this food was so old and so hard it had to boiled to soften it up to be palatable. It was also common to find it infested with maggots, weevils and other insects.
Some things never change.

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