Australian pleads guilty in US to Afghan corruption

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 7:40 EDT
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An Australian national pleaded guilty in a federal court in the US capital to accepting bribes for steering US-funded contracts inAfghanistan, the US Department of Justice said.

Neil Campbell, 61, a native of Queensland, Australia, pleaded guilty to one count of accepting a $10,000 bribe as an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Campbell worked in Afghanistan in 2009-2010 as an agent for theInternational Organization on Migration (IOM), a group that has received more than $260 million in US funds since 2002 to build hospitals, schools and other facilities.

Campbell admitted “that in July 2010, while in Afghanistan, he solicited a one-time cash payment of $190,000 from asubcontractor … as a reward for funneling more than $15 million in reconstruction projects to that subcontractor,” the statement read.

The following month an undercover US agent posing as the subcontractor’s representative paid Campbell $10,000 cash, and promised to pay the remainder in India. But when Campbell flew to New Delhi, agents of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation arrested him.

Campbell was charged in August 2010 and extradited from India to stand trial in February.

“This conviction … shows the seriousness of our commitment to protecting the American taxpayer,” said US Attorney Ronald Machen.

“There is zero tolerance for such abuse of federal funds,” added US Agency for International Development (USAID) Inspector General Donald Gambatesa.

Campbell faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on December 14. He also agreed to return the $10,000 from the bribe he received.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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