Halliburton is an international contracting firm operating in more than 120 countries of the world. It remains the biggest gas and oil firm across the globe. Halliburton is also the most contentious firm in the United States. It has acquired huge benefits from the Iraq war in terms of monetary gains. The company has collected over $18 billion in contracts meant to provide necessary service to the US troops and also reconstructing Iraq oil industry.
Whistleblowers, for example, Henry Bunting who worked for the company in Kuwait have accused the company of taking a leading role in corruption, fraudulent activities and environmental pollution when compared to other contractors. It is alleged that the firm overcharged $24. 7 million for meals, $61million for fuel and a total of $6. 3 million as confirmed bribes. (Rick, 2004) It is well known that Halliburton is well connected with the Republican officials an idea clearly reflected in the federal campaigns of the year 2004 where political bias was demonstrated by the company’s political action committee (PAC).
The PAC dished $189,000 towards Republican campaigns and only $18,000 towards Democrats candidacies, this is also reflected in it’s board members contribution in that more than $343,717 representing 97 percent of the total contribution were donated to the Republican campaigns against $9,810 donated to Democrats. As from 1995 to 2000 Dick Cheney (US vice president) was the CEO at Halliburton’s and even after his exit he still receives $150,000 from the company every year as annual payments. While serving as a secretary of Defense, Cheney developed cordial relationship with various government agencies in the United States.
It is believed that his proper connection assisted Halliburton in winning government contracts worth billion of dollars destined to offer US military with the much needed services plus some more contracts from lending institutions (international) for various contracts, for example, oil fields in Columbia and Chad, coal mines in India, among others. (Rick, 2004) Cheney’s appointment as the vice president in the United States meant more money to Halliburton in form of government contracts. In the year 2003 alone the firm earned lots of money from its contracts with the military in the United States. The earnings amounted to $3.
9 billion a figure that represented 680-percentage increase over what was earned in the previous year. Bechtel, Halliburton competitor takes only one third in contract earning as compared to what is earned by Halliburton. The firm has a poor image of scandals starting from the year 1919 where its founder applied technology stolen from his boss. It has been involved in contentious projects of oil drilling around the globe, in 1970’s the company was found guilty of Marine construction prices fixation in the Gulf of Mexico oil industry for a period of 16 years, the company paid fines in claims which amounted to over $90 million.
(Rick, 2004) It also admitted claims from Henry Bunting that one of the company’s employees was cornered in an attempt to issue $ 2. 4 million as a bribe to a Nigerian tax inspector in 2002. Over decades, this firm has been subject to cronyism and war profiteering changes. Browns & Root services, it’s engineering and construction subsidiary was greatly criticized for tax controls and war profiteering, it was reported by the General Accounting office that the firm security was poor such that apparatus amounting to million of dollars were stolen and it also lacked 120 million accounting control.
(Dennis, 2000) This report will highlight Halliburton’s record in defying a number of values that are highly regarded by the Americans ranging from accountability and transparency to democratic practice and human right observance. It will cover the company’s unconcealed use of huge campaign contributions and political connection application, which catapulted it into ‘winning’ contracts thus profiting from the Iraq war as well as the continued war on terrorism.
The report will also point out a number of case studies touching on the company’s business activities with the most corrupt and hateful regimes around the globe some of which got subsidy from the world Bank corporate welfare checks. (Dennis, 2000) Halliburton’s track record has been very unpleasant such that it will be very hard for the firm to study the criticism towards its business dealings and transform the same into accountable, ethical and transparent business activities.
The report provides some conclusion and recommendation which if implemented will ensure that the company does not misuse the taxpayer money. The government should also consider scrapping any contracts with the firm a thing that will help the congress in ensuring that the taxpayer’s money is well protected through giving contracts to patriotic companies. (Dennis, 2000) II. Halliburton’s political connectedness Halliburton is among the ten biggest contractors to the military in the United States, with a number of profitable contracts in Iraq.
In 2003, for instance, the firm earned a huge $ 39 billion from military contracts a figure that represented 680 percentage increase from the previous year. The company’s former CEO and vice president in the United States is the one behind the many contracts won by the firm. Dick Cheney is also known for the invention of American military work outsourcing system. Cheney’s task started in 1988, after he was appointed as the secretary of defense. At this period when the cold war came to an end, Cheney’s directive was to close military bases, reduce weapon systems and downsize forces.
Since the Korean war, Cheney reduced the number of soldiers in the US drastically and invited private firms to take up some of the vacant position as an outsourcing move, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a firm known for military contracting, was offered the contract of building warships and military bases from the world war II period. (Dennis, 2000) In 1990 alone Halliburton was paid $ 39million by the pentagon so as to come up with a plan for rapid support provision to more than 20,000 U. S troops who were on emergency circumstances.
After going through Halliburton’s report, the pentagon granted the company with another $5 million to wind up the strategy towards outsourcing the necessary support. In 1992, Halliburton was chosen by the U. S Army corps to employ a plan devised by the firm under logistics civil Augmentation program. The contract gave a mandate to the government in sending Halliburton in any corner of the world to provide military support as well as budget for the same. Despite having sought private contractors in the past, the pentagon appeared biased through contracting only a single firm.
(Jeffrey, 1997) III. The Company’s Practices in Iraq From 2003, the firm has been under heavy criticism for doing shoddy works. At the end of 2003 a story was reported by NBC focusing on the unsanitary Halliburton’s kitchen. NBC reported that the pentagon has been warning the company over the food it served the US troops since they were dirty and served on dirty kitchens. The pentagon cited reported cases of dirty pans, rotting vegetables & meat, dirty grills and salad bars as well as blood in the floor surface in the four military messes operated by Halliburton in Iraq. http://www.
halliburtonwatch. org (Retrieved, 1st July 2007) The pentagon warned of serious consequences if Halliburton failed to clean up. In December 2003 the company informed NBC that it had served the 110,000 troops with 21 millions meals at its 45 sites a figure that was viewed as exaggerate by the military auditors brining in fears that the company is overcharging the US government with million of dollars. In February 2004, it was reported by the wall street journal that Halliburton could have deliberately overcharged the taxpayer more than $ 16millions for meals served to the US troops.
In July 2007, for example, Halliburton served 14,053 meals per day whereas it billed for 42,042 meals daily. http://www. halliburtonwatch. org (Retrieved, 1st July 2007) The main reason for outsourcing work is for the government to save money in labour since after contracting the government does not have to pay for health and other things to the employee as the burden shifts to the employer. The company’s labour practices have been very questionable, Halliburton has been avoiding expensive US soldiers and in return it imports third world workers via subcontractors, these imported workers are cheaper as compared with those from the US.
For instance, Al Kharafi that is based in Kuwait suppliers the oil fields with South Asian workers, Tamimi Corporation from Saudi Arabia suppliers the military chow halls with the South Asian cooks. (Dan, 2004) The local workers are paid $150 a month, while the South Asian workers get twice the amount i. e. $300 in a month. Unskilled workers from Texas are paid a huge $8,000 in a month marking a very big discrepancy in wages. The military and Halliburton have so far justified the salary discrepancy arguing that local workers cannot be trusted to do some jobs, with the fear that they might eject, poison or even kill their colonial bosses.
The unfairly huge wage disparity has sparked bitterness from the Iraq local employees. Several strikes have been organized by the South Oil company union leader in Iraq, Hassan Juma, in an effort to chase the foreign workers. Halliburton’s anti-labor practices have prompted disagreement, in Philippines, for example, the company was whacked with $600 million in lawsuit for failing to allow employees construct a detention camp at Guantanamo Bay to form a union. (Dan, 2004)