A changing of the guards is under way at U.S. Army posts in Bavaria, where the military has ended services with Securitas, a private security firm that German authorities are investigating in connection with allegations that it falsely billed the Army for services.
The Army amended its contract with Pond Security to add guard services for the Nord Bayern area, which was previously serviced by Securitas, U.S. Army Europe said in a prepared statement. The contract commenced Sept. 1 and will extend for a year, it stated.
USAREUR did not state whether the change was linked to an investigation by Würzburg prosecutors into allegations that Securitas schemed to bill the military millions of euros for work never performed.
Last month, Securitas and USAREUR confirmed the fraud allegations, which center on the years 2002-2006. Securitas’ roughly 17 million euro (about $23 million) contract with the Army expired Aug. 31. In August, Securitas stated that USAREUR’s decision not to renew the contract was unrelated to the allegations.
“Securitas had already been notified by its client (the Army) prior to the investigation procedures that the contract would be awarded to a competitor,” the company said at the time.
The competitor was Pond Security, a firm based out of Erlensee and owned by former Army soldier Daniel Pond. The company, which employees about 3,000 guards, has been providing security at numerous bases throughout Germany since the 1980s.
USAREUR has declined to discuss the allegations against Securitas, citing the on-going probe. An explanation about USAREUR’s decision to not renew the contract was not immediately available Monday. Securitas’ contract with the Army began in 1999 and involved providing security at barracks in Ansbach, Bamberg, Giebelstadt, Illesheim, Kitzingen, Schweinfurt and Würzburg.
At U.S. Army bases throughout Germany, security gates are generally guarded by employees of private corporations. The practice became commonplace after the military deployment to the Balkans in 1997, which resulted in a manpower shortage that required contracting for services.