Details of the contracts awarded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are now emerging. Kellogg, Brown & Root, - a subsidiary of Halliburton who has been accused by auditors of submitting bogus invoices for services to the US military in Iraq, has got a £34 million contract to clean up the devastationn left by the hurricane. Its main task (apart from making their shareholders a lot of money) will be to repair the flood defenses around New Orleans, - the very same defenses that had funding cut by the Bush Administration prior to the disaster.
FEMA has been responsible for the award of the contracts, and has now awarded £840 million of repair work to various firms, 80% of which were awarded after a very limited tendering process. Its alleged that many were clinched by little more than a handshake! Who says it's not who you know that matters?
A £320 million deal went to AshBritt, a Florida based company that was a client of Barbour Griffith and Rogers, which was Republican Governor Barbour's very successful lobbying firm and at which he was in the position of CEO. (Funny how these CEO's keep cropping up in politics!).
Richard Skinner, of the Homeland Security Department, said there was concern on Capitol Hill about fraud and mismanagement. 'We are very apprehensive about what we are seeing,' he said.
I bet there's no apprehension or concern in the White House, - too busy celebrating a new success!