WASHINGTON | A British company hired to help train Afghan intelligence officers billed the U.S. government for more than $50 million in questionable expenses that included luxury cars and exorbitant salaries paid to the “significant others” of the company’s top executives, according to a Pentagon audit.
New Century Consulting also spent $42,000 on automatic weapons, using cash to get around a prohibition in the contract on purchasing the firearms, and showered other personnel with hefty pay and bonuses they hadn’t earned. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill summarized the audit’s major findings in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that she released on Wednesday.
McCaskill, the top ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is demanding to know which Defense Department office was responsible for overseeing the work, what steps are being taken to recover the millions of dollars in disputed payments, and whether the U.S. government has considered prohibiting New Century Consulting from receiving new federal contracts.
“Whoever approved of this spending should be fired_it’s a slap in the face to Missouri taxpayers and the entire contracting process,” McCaskill said in a statement.
Michael Grunberg, chief executive officer of New Century Consulting, said the company strives to follow federal acquisition rules and “other relevant obligations.” He said it “is most unfair and is significantly inaccurate” that the executive assistants were paid inappropriate salaries. Grunberg said the audit “questioned solely the use and depreciation treatment of vehicles” and that New Century Consulting “accounted for…
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