US government joins Agility fraud case

THE US government has joined the private lawsuit brought against Agility, trading under its old name of Public Warehousing Company (PWC), for fraud against the US military.The case was initially filed by Kamal Mustafa Al-Sultan, the owner of a Kuwaiti company that originally partnered with PWC to submit a proposal on food supply contracts to the US Army in Kuwait and Iraq. The US has since investigated Al-Sultan’s claims and now decided to join the lawsuit.It is alleged that PWC, the Sultan Center Food Products Company (TSC) and PWC’s chief executive officer, Tarek Abbul Aziz Sultan Al-Essa (right), defrauded the US Army out of US$60 million by knowingly overcharging for fruits and vegetables that PWC purchased through TSC. It is also alleged that PWC failed to disclose and pass through rebates and discounts it obtained from its US-based suppliers, as required by its contracts.Under the False Claims Act, the United States may recover three times the amount of its losses, plus civil penalties. If found guilty this is sure to be a mortal if not crippling blow for Agility, as PWC is now.“We will not tolerate fraudulent practices from those tasked with providing the highest quality support to the men and women who serve in our armed forces,” said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Department of Justice. “Those who do business with the government must act fairly and in accordance with the law. As this case illustrates, [we] will investigate and pursue allegations of fraud against contractors and subcontractors, whether they are foreign or domestic.”“This Office and the Department of Justice will spare no effort in investigating those persons and companies, regardless of location, who seek to defraud the United States,” added acting US Attorney Gentry Shelnutt.