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March 26, 2004 3:00 AM

Questions raised about Iraq contract

A Virginia company that got a $240 million federal contract to develop a competitive private sector in Iraq helped write the specifications for the work that knocked its competitors out of the running, a federal investigation found. A draft memo by the inspector general at the U.S. Agency for International Development blasts the agency for giving a competitive advantage to BearingPoint Inc., a consulting company thats in court defending itself against allegations of other contracting irregularities and disclosures that its officials inaccurately stated its profits in 2003. BearingPoint, of McLean, spent five months helping the USAID write the job specifications and got permission to spend money to train employees to work in Iraq long before the contract went out for public bid. The firms competitors had only a week to come up with their own bids for the complicated program after final revisions were made, the IG found.

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