FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 13, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Caitlin Conant (Portman) | 202-224-5190
John LaBombard (McCaskill) | 202-228-6263
Portman and McCaskill Raise Concerns of Waste in Security Contracts
Senators Raise Oversight Concerns on Nearly $135 Million Taxpayer Dollars in Potentially Unsupported Costs by U.S. Security Contractor Jorge Scientific/Imperatis in Afghanistan
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), requested additional answers about the potential loss of nearly $135 million in taxpayer dollars by Jorge Scientific, a U.S. defense contractor conducting counterinsurgency training for the Afghan police forces.
The top independent U.S. watchdog in Afghanistan recently completed an audit of the Legacy East Project, in which Jorge Scientific (now rebranded as Imperatis Corporation) was awarded a $50 million contract to provide counterinsurgency intelligence experts to mentor and train the Afghan National Security Forces. In the audit, the watchdog identified possibly fraudulent payments and a lack of internal controls that resulted in almost $135 million in unsupported costs billed by Jorge Scientific/Imperatis under its contract.
“In October 2012, [McCaskill] raised concerns regarding the Army’s management and oversight of contracts with Jorge Scientific, including reports by two former Jorge Scientific employees that Jorge personnel, including company executives, engaged in frequent abuse of alcohol and drugs in Kabul, a “bar brawl”, and parties so loud they repeatedly attracted the attention of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security,” the senators wrote in their letter in response to the recent audit. “Following [McCaskill’s] letter… Army officials also stated that, while their investigation and review remained ongoing, there was at the time no indication of wrongdoing by Jorge Scientific leadership and that the company had taken action to ensure that there was no further misconduct by Jorge Scientific employees in Afghanistan. In its recent audit, [the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction] identified material weaknesses and significant deficiencies in internal controls resulting in almost $135 million in unsupported costs billed by Jorge Scientific/Imperatis under its contract from October 2011 through March 2014.”
Allegations first surfaced against Jorge Scientific when cell phone video appeared to show employees under the influence of drugs and alcohol (alcohol consumption by contractors in Afghanistan is not permitted). According to the complaint, the parties and other wrongdoing also included Army military and civilian personnel. Jorge Scientific has been the recipient of nearly $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded contracts.
Full text of the letter can be found here.