(The Daily Mail) A security firm run by a highly commended British Iraq war veteran blew £40million of US taxpayers’ money on supercars and six-figure salaries for its bosses’ wives, it is alleged.
Colonel Tim Collins, known for his rousing eve-of-battle speech to troops in the Gulf in 2003, set up New Century Consulting to offer specialist military and police training worldwide.
The company, which was hired by the US military to train Afghan intelligence officers, is under investigation by the American government’s watchdog against fraud and waste in Afghanistan.
According to a Pentagon audit, made public on Wednesday, the firm showered employees with hefty pay and bonuses they had not earned.
Senator Claire McCaskill said the military contractor had ‘left taxpayers on the hook for over $50million [£38.5million]’.
Last night sources close to the firm said the claims were ‘wildly exaggerated’ and the senator was trying to make a name for herself by going after contractors.
When asked about the probe, Belfast-born Colonel Collins, the firm’s chairman, said it was an ‘ongoing matter’ and it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
As commander of the Royal Irish Regiment in March 2003, the married father of four won praise for his address to around 800 men at Fort Blair Mayne desert camp, 20 miles from the Iraqi border.
In the speech, which was later performed by Kenneth Branagh in the TV series Ten Days To War, he told them to behave like liberators, not conquerors, adding: ‘We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.’
The former SAS officer was later made an OBE for his military service.
Founded in 2006, New Century Consulting (NCC) sent counter-insurgency advisers, many of them British, to Afghanistan to run an intelligence training programme for the Afghan National Security Force. The aim was to apply tactics developed during the Northern Ireland Troubles to help recruit informants from the Taliban.
The accusations against NCC were revealed in a letter from Miss McCaskill, the top Democrat on the US homeland security and governmental affairs committee, to defence secretary Jim Mattis, summarising the audit’s findings.