Australian contractor guilty of accepting bribes in the US
6 October, 2011
By Lilia Guan
Queenslander, Neil Campbell, has pleaded guilty in US District Court for the District of Columbia, to seeking out $197000 (US$190000) in payments as a reward for steering United States-funded contracts in Afghanistan.
Mr Campbell was originally charged on 19 August 2010. He was arrested in New Delhi, India, in October 2010 and extradited to the United States in February 2011.
According to court records, starting in January 2009, Mr Campbell worked in Afghanistan as a contractor and acted as an agent for the International Organisation on Migration (IOM).
The IOM has received about $270 million (US$260 million) from USAID since 2002 to construct hospitals, schools and other facilities.
In his plea, Campbell admitted that in July 2010, while in Afghanistan, he solicited a one-time cash payment of $197000 (US$190,000) from a subcontractor in Afghanistan as a reward for funnelling about $15564949 (US$15) million in reconstruction projects to that subcontractor to build a hospital and a provincial teaching college.
In August 2010, Campbell met an undercover USAID investigator posing as the subcontractor’s representative and accepted a $10375 (US$10000) cash payment.
Mr Campbell counted the money and requested that the remaining funds come to him in one payment.
In October last year, Campbell travelled to New Delhi, India, where he believed he would be receiving the remaining $186807 (US$180000). He was arrested at the New Delhi International Airport by agents of the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said Mr Campbell steered millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to a subcontractor in Afghanistan and sought illegal riches in return.
“In the name of US reconstruction efforts, he decided to try and cash in. The Justice Department will not tolerate this kind of flagrant corruption, and will continue to hold criminals like Mr Campbell to account.”
Mr Campbell he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $259469 (US$250000) fine, when he is sentenced in December. He also agreed in his plea to forfeiture of $10379 (US$10000), which represents the one illegal payment he received.