The federal government sued KBR Inc., the largest contractor in Iraq, on Thursday over what prosecutors say were improper charges to the Army for private security services.
Houston-based KBR Inc. is a former subsidiary of Halliburton Co. It recently won a new contract potentially worth more than $2 billion for support work in the country.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington charged that KBR and 33 of its subcontractors used private armed security at various times from 2003 to 2006. The suit claimed KBR knew under the terms of its contract the company could not bill the U.S. government for such services but did so anyway.
Three KBR, Inc. employees received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Defense of Freedom in a ceremony, May 1, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The Defense of Freedom Medal is the civilian equivalent of the military’s Purple Heart Medal. It is awarded to civilian employees working in support of the Department of Defense who are injured or fatally wounded by hostile fire while in the line of duty.
Robert Martin Jr., a heavy truck driver with KBR’s Iraq Theater Transportation Mission and a Lindale, Texas, native, sustained a gunshot wound while driving in a flatbed convoy mission Dec. 5, 2005.
Lawrence Reynolds, a heavy truck driver with KBR’s Iraq’s TTM and a Tulsa, Okla., native, received shrapnel wounds and later had a cardiac episode as a result of an improvised explosive device detonation on his convoy, June 6, 2006.
Lemmis Stephens Jr., a tank driver and fuel technician with KBR and a Houston native, sustained bilateral eye injuries when an incoming round exploded 70 feet from his bus, sending shrapnel through his windshield.
All three contractors have since returned to work in Iraq.
“Brave civilian men and women put their life on the line every day,” said Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Mansfield, Ohio, native.
Civilian contractors have made and continue to make key contributions to the success of Iraq, Wentz said.