WASHINGTON — Three men, including a British citizen, have been charged with conspiring to defraud the US government over a kickback scheme involving contracts for ammunition disposal in Iraq, according to the US Justice Department.
Briton Ahmed Sarchil Kazzaz and his business, Leadstay Company, were charged in federal court in the southern state of Alabama along with US citizens Gaines Newell, 52, and Billy Joe Hunt, 57.
Kazzaz allegedly “paid more than $947,500 in unlawful kickbacks” to Newell and Hunt, who were US government contractors, “in order to obtain lucrative subcontracts for himself and Leadstay,” the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
Newell was the program manager in Iraq for the unnamed California-based prime contractor to a US-funded munitions-clearing program, while Hunt was the deputy program manager.
Kazzaz, 45, was arrested in mid-February in California.
The contracts were issued as part of a munitions clearance program operated in Iraq by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Engineering and Support Center (HESC).
The HESC was tasked with storing and disposing weapons seized or abandoned in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and awarded a contract to perform this work “to an international engineering and construction firm headquartered in Pasadena, California” where Newell and Hunt worked.