Saturday, September 11, 1999

Hawaii State Seal

Judge suggests state give info
into inquiry on security firm

The state's airport security contract is being
reviewed after allegations of criminality

By Susan Kreifels


A judge has rejected a security company's request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from canceling a recently awarded three-year contract at Honolulu Airport.

But Circuit Court Judge Gary Won Bae Chang yesterday told the state he would "appreciate greater openness if it doesn't compromise any investigation" being undertaken of Akal Security Inc.

"The court would appreciate it if the state would provide information to the client," he added.

Daya Khalsa, senior vice president of the security firm, based in New Mexico, said he was pleased with the judge's decision because that was what the company wanted -- more openness and information from the state about its investigation of the company.

Khalsa said there is no basis for allegations that Akal officials were involved in criminal activity being investigated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Khalsa's attorney, Lex Smith, said the state has not provided any information to Akal officials and had canceled a meeting after the company flew people out to attend it. "The first thing is, they should tell the party involved what they think we did," Smith told Chang.

Chang said there was an absence of facts showing the government had committed arbitrary and capricious acts, and that the state appeared to be living up to the contract. He advised the company, however, to renew its motion if it found such facts.

Federal agencies have been asked to help state officials determine whether Akal officials have criminal records.

"We've seen enough of the allegations to know they are completely false and have no substance," Khalsa said.

An affidavit filed by Jerry Matsuda, administrator of the state Transportation Department's Airports Division, said an official was informed Aug. 27 that a federal security official had become aware of allegations against Akal personnel involving drug trafficking, money laundering and possible connections with international terrorism.

Matsuda said his office is still evaluating Akal's contract. Its work so far has been satisfactory, he said.

The contract was awarded Aug. 16. In its complaint, Akal said the state has not signed its contract yet, although the company was given a purchase order number orally to induce it to start work this month.

"The award of a big contract is a competitive situation," said Khalsa when asked about motives for someone making the complaint. "There are parties who wanted the contract."

Honolulu Airport is the only airport security contract Akal holds.

But it holds contracts with two-thirds of the nation's federal courts and two top-secret military weapons testing facilities.

State law prevents anyone with a felony record from being hired as a security guard, a company official said.

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