Monday, August 16, 2010

Top USAID Afghanistan Contractor Faces Corruption Investigation

According to the The Telegraph (UK), the New Jersey based Louis Berger Group (LBG), with a reported $2 billion or so in US government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been named in court documents alleging corruption in contracting...
Court papers filed in the US said there were criminal and civil investigations into allegations that Louis Berger "defrauded the United States Agency for International Development".

The investigation details only emerged when Derish M Wolff, chairman of the parent company Berger Group Holdings, sued the US government last week.

He complained he had been forced into resignation by the government as part of a negotiation to settle the three-year-long probe.

The company said it could not comment directly on the overcharging accusations and added: "Louis Berger Group has and will continue to co-operate fully with the US Government throughout the process as we work toward a resolution."

Details of the inquiry emerged as Hamid Karzai's government and its international backers continued to trade accusations of corruption and bribery.

London and Washington have repeatedly demanded Mr Karzai rein in his administration's graft and bribe-taking.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, told a US newspaper last week that corruption was "the biggest single recruitment tool for the Taliban and the biggest single factor undermining [Afghan] government support".

Kabul has often retaliated that most corruption stems from foreign companies who handle lucrative aid work.
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