Committee formed to probe fuel deal

17 February 2004
A parliamentary committee is to investigate allegations that a Kuwaiti supplier to a subsidiary of the US' Halliburton charged too much for fuel deliveries to Iraq. Parliament voted unanimously to form the committee, a move that was welcomed by Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Twenty MPs had lodged a request for the probe to decide whether there had been any wrongdoing, waste of public funds or if any officials at state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), which is in charge of the state's oil sector, had profited illegally from the deal. 'We welcome the formation of the parliamentary committee to discuss the case so that the Kuwaiti people will know with complete transparency if there are any charges,' Al-Sabah said.

KPC and Kuwait's Altanmia Commercial Marketing Company supplied 1,500 tonnes of fuel daily to the US army in Iraq through Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR).

Reports emerged on 12 December 2003 claiming that an audit on Halliburton, carried out by the US Department of Defence, had uncovered evidence of overcharging for services supplied to coalition forces in Iraq - a claim that Halliburton refutes (MEED 12:12:03). Reports indicated that Halliburton, through KBR, could have overcharged the US government by as much as $61 million for supplying oil in Iraq. The report also showed that Altanmia had charged more than double the price Turkish suppliers had quoted for supplying oil to US forces.

Halliburton welcomed 'another independent examination of this issue because there have been a lot of erroneous reports in the US and international media,' a spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency. 'The facts show that KBR delivered fuel to Iraq at the best value, the best price, and the best terms and in ways completely consistent with government procurement policies,' she said.

The committee has 60 days to report its findings.

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