By: Avery Kleinman
The Navy has been roiled by a series of embarrassing scandals recently involving millions of dollars in fraudulent billing, prostitutes, and even bribery with Lady Gaga tickets.
In response to the string of incidents, the House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has opened an investigation into contracting fraud at the Navy.
In a letter sent last week to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Issa requested a detailed briefing of the steps the Navy has taken to combat fraud since April 2011, which is when the service created a special panel to improve contracting oversight. Three years later, Issa wrote, “significant problems remain and it does not appear that the process has improved significantly.”
Chairman Issa also requested that the Navy provide all documents since 2009 between the service and Glenn Defense Marine Asia. The Singapore firm’s president was arrested in September for overbilling the Navy by more than $20 million.
Chairman Issa points out that the Glen Defense incident is, unfortunately, one of many embarrassing contracting scandals that have hit the Navy recently. In November, contractor Inchcape Shipping Services was suspended due to an ongoing civil fraud investigation by the Department of Justice into another case of alleged overbilling. The Navy’s second-ranking civilian retired in January over an operation where the military was paying $1.6 million for silencers that cost $8,000 to manufacture. Three senior Navy intelligence officials who were also involved are currently under investigation.
From Chairman Issa’s letter:
These stories show that the Navy needs to strengthen oversight of its procurement process and implement policies to prevent the waste, fraud and mismanagement of millions of additional taxpayer dollars.
The committee requested the information be made available by Feb. 6. It is unclear, as of yet, how far the oversight panel will take the probe, but it is clear the Navy is in dire need of more oversight. POGO applauds Chairman Issa for taking a much-needed closer look.
via Rep. Issa Opens Investigation into Navy Fraud | POGO Blog.