​Iraq War commander’s security firm probed over alleged $135mn fraud

Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Collins (Reuters / Pool)
A private security company run by an ex-special forces colonel, who famously gave a rousing speech on the eve of the Iraq War, is now under investigation by a US government watchdog for alleged fraud.

Colonel Tim Collins, who was investigated for war crimes, now finds his firm New Century Consulting (NCC) under the spotlight as part of an ongoing investigation into the American defense contractor Imperatis by the US government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Independent reports.

SIGAR’s remit is to “promote efficiency” and “detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse” in Afghanistan.

In the process of fulfilling a Pentagon contract, nearly $130 million in “unsupported” and “questioned” costs were paid to NCC, the SIGAR audit of Imperatis found.

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SIGAR’s head John F Sopko said in a statement: “When you accept $135 million from the government you are responsible for knowing how the money was spent.

This is a classic example of a prime contractor not knowing how its subcontractors are spending hard-earned American taxpayer dollars.

Collins, who is a signatory to the founding principles of controversial neo-con think tank The Henry Jackson Society, is one of the UK’s most prominent and vocal military figures.

He is best known for delivering a rousing televised speech shortly before the start of the 2003 Iraq War.

At the time, the Belfast-born head of NCC was Commanding Officer of the First Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment.

More recently he has been an outspoken critic of those legal firms which have, on behalf of Iraqi clients, pursued abuse, murder and torture cases against the UK government from the Iraq War era.

Collins has often accused those prosecuting such cases of “ambulance chasing” and “bean-feasting” on public funds.

The publicly-funded Pentagon contract, which Collins’ NCC has been fulfilling for Imperatis, included providing a range of services in Afghanistan.

One of the firm’s aims is to train Afghan security personnel as part of the post-occupation Legacy East project by utilizing the lessons learned fighting the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and applying them to the severely destabilized Middle Eastern state.

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Composed of a number of ex-military officers and former members of Northern Ireland’s Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), Imperatis was found by SIGAR to have not retained “sufficient supporting documentation for a subcontractor’s [New Century Consulting] costs.

SIGAR advised that the US military “recover, as appropriate, $134,552,665 in questioned costs identified in the report.”

Both NCC and Imperatis contest the findings of the audit.

Imperatis told the Independent: “We are confident that further audit of the documentation would provide Sigar with complete assurance that all of the expenditures billed to the US government were incurred and claimed in accordance with the Legacy East contract, and in each case comply with all applicable cost principles.

Collins told the paper: “New Century was the subcontractor to Legacy East. Apart from that we have no privileged access to the matter mentioned nor have we been approached by the US government to assist or comment on the matter.