THE US NAVY has announced that it has suspended business with a Chafford Hundred defence contractor over “questionable business integrity,” the second time in two months that it has revealed deep problems with a company that services its ships around the world reports The Washington Post.
In a statement the Navy said: “It had suspended Inchcape Shipping Services, an old-line maritime trading firm based in Britain that delivers cargo and provides port services in 66 countries”.
Inchcape held current Navy contracts that had been valued at more than $240 million, mostly for supplying ships in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The Navy was vague about what prompted the action, saying the matter remained under investigation. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy’s chief spokesman, said in a statement that the decision was “based upon evidence of conduct indicating questionable business integrity.” He declined to give details.
A spokeswoman for Inchcape, Sheila Armstrong said: “That the Navy’s notice related to supply work involving “a small number” of ships between 2005 and 2008 that was the subject of a U.S. Justice Department inquiry in 2010.
“The company conducted an independent audit into its billing processes in 2009 and believes that this provided full answers to all of the questions raised,” Armstrong said. “We will continue to engage with” the Justice Department and Navy “and hope this matter can be resolved swiftly.”