By Shane McGinley
Logistics firm always maintained it "did nothing wrong" over US gov't fraud charges
Kuwait's Agility, the logistics firm accused of fraud in the US, has seem legal proceedings against it dismissed at the request of the US Department of Justice, the company said in a statement on Sunday to the Dubai bourse.
“With regards to the KSA announcement dated 13 April 2010, Agility is pleased with the decision of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to seek voluntary dismissal of the superseding indictment against its affiliate Agility DGS Logistics Services Company KSCC,” the statement said.
Agility, which was the largest supplier to the US Army in the Middle East during the war in Iraq, pleaded not guilty in August to charges it defrauded the US government over multi-billion-dollar supply contracts.
“This is the second time DoJ has sought to dismiss an indictment it brought against an Agility affiliate, the other being Agility DGS Holdings Inc announced back in 2 April 2011,” the statement added.
“It’s truly unfortunate that our hard-working employees have had to operate under this cloud for more than two years. We have maintained from the beginning that we did nothing wrong and the indictments were the result of an effort by the government to gain tactical advantage in this case.
“Agility continues to believe that DoJ has criminalised what is, at most, a civil dispute relating to interpretation of certain provisions of the Prime Vendor food contact. The case is in pre-trial litigation in a US District Court in Atlanta. Agility welcomes the opportunity to bring the relevant facts to light before an impartial jury,” the statement to the Dubai Financial Market concluded.
In February, Agility asked a US judge to throw out the fraud charges, which alleged it had paid premium prices on products rather than getting discounts, according to court documents seen by Bloomberg. It said prosecutors have no proof of the case against Agility.
“The government resorted to a series of sharp and unethical tactics, designed to distort - and in some instances create - the evidence to support the government’s after-the-fact interpretation of the contract and to transform what is, at best, a contractual dispute over the proper interpretation of the prime vendor contracts into a criminal prosecution,” according to the court filing in federal court in Atlanta earlier this year.
The logistics firm, which had been barred from bidding for new US government contracts pending the outcome of the cases, reported a 8.1 percent drop in first-quarter profit as costs rose faster than revenue.
The firm made a profit of KWD7.1m (US$25.44m) in the three months to March 31, down from KWD7.7m in the prior-year period.
Total revenue for the quarter was KWD321.8m, up from KWD318.5m in the corresponding quarter of 2011, but this gain was outweighed by an increase in revenue costs, which rose 2.2 percent to KWD234.8m over the same period.
If indeed this report is true, and charges against Agility, PWC, and related entities dropped , this will have proven to be yet another example of prosecutorial malfeasance within the US Department Of Justice by regional Assistant US Attorneys, many of whom would seem to be principally engaged in building resumes for subsequent moves to the private sector, something which in this case was borne out by what has actually happened.
In addition to demonstrable damage to the shareholders' interests and the company's reputation, numerous professional lives and family situations have been adversely affected, sitations made worse by the current economic downturn.
To paraphrase the final line from the really bad '60's film "Love Story", being the US Department Of Justice means never having to say your'e sorry.
Your comments please, Mr. Holder.