Alcatel-Lucent (Paris, France) has agreed to pay the US government $4.2 million to settle an allegation that it submitted misleading testing certifications to the army.
A subsidiary of the network manufacturer, called Lucent Technologies World Services Inc (LTWSI), won a $250 million contract in March 2004 to build an emergency-services network in Iraq (the AFRN project).
The Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that Alcatel-Lucent submitted payment claims for equipment and services provided under that contract based on inaccurate certifications.
The certifications in question were provided between January and July 2005 and concerned the testing of radio transmission sites and the validation of the network as a whole.
“The integrity of our public contracting system is a matter of paramount concern to the Department of Justice, especially where contractors have been engaged to supply critical support for the work of stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Stuart F Delery, the acting Assistant Attorney General for the DoJ’s Civil Division. “The department will seek to recover losses to the American taxpayer when a contractor has claimed money to which it is not entitled.”
“The United States must be able to count upon government contractors to seek payment only for services performed in conformance with their contractual obligations. That is particularly true of contractors performing work for the United States in ‘hot spots’ around the globe where verification of invoiced work can be both difficult and dangerous,” said Jenny Durkan, the US Attorney for the Western District of Washington. “LTWSI’s internal procedures on the AFRN project clearly should have been more robust in this instance.”
The settlement resolves a whistleblower suit filed by Geoffrey Willson, LTWSI’s former contract manager for the project, who will receive $758,000 as his statutory share of the settlement.