Halliburton, king of corporate war profiteers, conducts its annual shareholders' meeting Wednesday in Houston.
There will certainly be a lot to discuss. Bribery in Nigeria and Iraq, accounting fraud, contract fraud in the Balkans and Iraq, dealing with former CEO Cheney's "Axis of Evil" (Iran), etc.
Shareholders who read the report will want to ask Halliburton CEO David Lesar some interesting questions, like:
1. Just how many Justice Department criminal investigation cases involving the company and/or current and former employees are currently pending?
2. Exactly how much of this year's dividends are coming out of the "Iraqi people's" oil revenues?
3. Halliburton disclosed it may have criminally rigged bids on foreign contracts and the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the matter. Which foreign countries are involved and what you have done to prevent this activity in the future?
4. A senior Army contracting employee has indicated that one month before the invasion of Iraq began, KBR executives were in attendance at some of the meetings of Pentagon officials who were deciding whether to award contracts to KBR or its competitors. Who were those KBR employees and do they still work for the company?
5. Isn't it true that the company still under investigation for conducting business in Iran?
6. Pentagon auditors recently announced that KBR had overcharged U.S.
taxpayers by $174 million for importing gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq. Why has the Kuwaiti government complained about KBR’s “lack of cooperation” in its investigation?
7. Did any company executives attend meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney or his staff in 2001 to discuss U.S. energy policy? If so, can you inform the shareholders what was discussed?
8. Is it true that the company has used employees driving trucks as "decoys" in Iraq, resulting in unnecessary death?
Also, there are reports that employees who come back from Iraq are not eligible for workmen's compensation because they are technically employed by a Cayman Islands subsidiary called Service Employees International. Why is the company using an offshore haven subsidiary to hire U.S. employees for its work in Iraq?
9. The Department of Justice has reportedly indicted a Halliburton manager for an taking kickbacks under the LOGCAP troop support contract. Have you answered Rep. Waxman, who asked the company why it told the House Committee on Government Reform that the individuals involved were not managers but “administrative people”?
10. Has the company investigated the alleged gang-beating of KBR employee Ronald Chavez by a group of fellow employees, known as the "Red Neck Mafia," at the Baghdad airport where he worked as a security coordinator for KBR? Were those employees fired?
11. The company admitted last year that it may have made illegal payments to the Nigerian government to win the Bonny Island
contract. The French government says the payments totaled $132 million and were paid during your employment as Halliburton’s chief financial officer and chief executive. Did you have any knowledge of these payments when they were being made? If not, how could you, the company’s chief accountant, fail to notice such a large sums of money being paid in Nigeria?
a) Have you personally provided testimony under oath to any government regarding the payments to Nigeria? If so, to whom was the testimony given?
b) Has the company discovered any potentially illegal payments to
government officials in countries other than Nigeria?
c) It's been reported that the company hired James Doty of the Baker Botts law firm to conduct an internal investigation of the Nigeria case. Is Mr. Doty's investigation finished? Are the documents already discovered in his preliminary investigation available for shareholders to scrutinize?