November 18 - The Public Warehousing Company, better known these days as Agility, has issued a strongly worded statement following indictments in the USA on multiple charges of alledged conspiracy and fraud relating to three major contracts to supply food

Prosecutors allege Agility inflated food prices and submitted false information to the U.S. government on food-supply contracts that were awarded between 2003 and 2005.

The statement says that PWC, which denies the allegations, "has for some time worked with the U.S. government to seek a mutually agreeable resolution to a contract dispute between the U.S. government and the Company and is surprised and disappointed that the government has decided to take these actions. 

"The company has been the principal food supplier for the U.S. military in Kuwait and Iraq since 2003, adding that PWC's service has been timely, reliable and cost effective throughout its work on these competitively awarded contracts, and its performance has been unparalleled. The prices it charges have been negotiated with, agreed to, and continually approved as by the U.S. government since then. The government has consistently found PWC's prices to be fair and reasonable.

"Since 2006, the company's "fill rates" - the number of cases of food accepted compared with the number ordered - were consistently more than 99 percent, a number that exceeds the fill rates of U.S. domestic service providers. That means that PWC was more successful in delivering food and other items to the military in a hostile war zone than other vendors have been within the safe environs of the continental U.S.

"The court documents filed in the United States reveal that the investigation leading to the indictment and the False Claims Act lawsuit was instigated by Kamal Mustafa Sultan, owner of Kamal Mustafa Sultan Company, who has a long history of strong animosity towards PWC, its officers and its employees. A July 19, 2009 San Antonio (Texas) Express-News story raises major questions about the company:

"In the PWC matter, Kamal Mustafa Sultan brought a "qui tam" case under the False Claims Act in November 2005, which means that he has a financial interest in the outcome of the case. In Kuwait, Kamal Mustafa Sultan has filed more than 40 court actions against PWC, its executives and its employees, all of which have been unsuccessful, said Agility.

"The company has long cooperated with government reviews, inspections, audits and inquiries necessary to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately. The company made every effort to resolve this with U.S. contracting agencies, including trying to get a formal interpretation of the contract by a neutral agency and going to mediation, but the government refused.

"An indictment and a complaint are merely allegations. PWC is confident that once these allegations are examined in court, they will be found to be without merit. These allegations should have no impact on any current contracts with the U.S. government."