KOCHI ~ Accenture Services, one of the three companies awarded the Rs 2,000 crore tender for generating a biometric database for the Unique Identification Authority of India, has charges of kickbacks, delays and overbudgeting against it in the US. Just last month, Accenture arrived at a $ 63.7 million settlement over kickbacks it took for giving out government contracts.
Among the three companies given the contract by the UID Authority, Accenture has the majority of the work. Of 10 fingerprints collected, Accenture will get five, Mahindra Satyam three and L-I Identity Solutions two. The project will either run up to two years or until 200 million enrolments.
In a lawsuit filed in the eastern district court of Arkansas, the US government accused Accenture of receiving kickbacks, inflating prices and rigging bids on federal infotech contracts. Information technology development for various government departments had been outsourced to Accenture since 1998.
A suit filed on 4 December 2007 alleges, ‘Millions of dollars of kickbacks were sought, received, offered and paid between and among Accenture and its alliances violating False Claims Act and other federal statutes and regulations.’
Also, in September 2007, the General Assembly of Connecticut was informed that eight public entities had cancelled contracts with Accenture. Among them was the US Marine Corps, which had struck a six-month, $ 4.5 million contract with Accenture in July 2005 to design and implement a new global supply chain and maintenance system. Accenture, it was alleged, did not meet the contract’s cost, schedule and performance baselines.
A Karnataka High Court lawyer, BT Venkatesh, has sent a legal notice to the UIDA and Indian Government, asking for a rethink on the contract. He says, “The biometric identification of 200 million Indian citizens is very crucial data. How can the Government give such a task to a company that is not even able to win the trust of the government in its own country?”▪