U.S. Military Officials Charged With Bribery
Two United States military servicemen and four Department of Defense contractors have been charged with bribery and conspiracy involving Afghanistan airfield contracts worth more than $1 million.
A federal indictment made public this week accuses National Guard Major Christopher West and Air Force Sergeant Patrick Boyd of accepting nearly $100,000 in bribes to help an Afghanistan company secure lucrative military contracts to supply U.S. troops with bunkers and cement barriers used for force protection and perimeter walls.
The men took three bribes of around $30,000 each, one payment for each of three Pentagon contracts at Bagram Air Base that also included asphalt paving. The Afghans who bribed the major and sergeant were also indicted and all face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 each.
The crimes took place in 2004 and 2005, according to prosecutors who say this is one of several corruption cases involving military contracts under investigation. The assistant U.S. attorney handling this case said the Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute individuals and companies that line their own pockets by corrupting the bidding process for base procurement in Afghanistan.
Government contracts in the Middle East have long been plagued with fraud, corruption and waste that have cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars since troops were deployed to the region. Several military personnel have been indicted for taking hefty bribes to help contractors secure deals and various congressional reports and inspector general audits have documented the crisis.