Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Attempted Bribe of Contracting Officer

The Air Force issued a solicitation for the purchase of $1.4 million worth of electronic door locks to be used on Air Force facilities in Afghanistan. This fellow from Dubai wanted the contract so badly that he attempted to bribe the Air Force contracting officer for $90 thousand in order to secure the contract.

The contracting officer did the right thing and reported the attempted bribe. The FBI set up a sting operation and when the Dubai guy met the contracting officer in Czech Republic to make the bribe payment, the FBI was waiting for him. They arrested him, extradited him to the U.S where he pleaded guilty to bribing a public official.

The Dubai guy is scheduled to be sentenced this coming November and faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250 thousand fine although he is not likely to serve those maximums.

Bribery and corruption is the norm in many countries. The Dubai guy probably thought he was being a shrewd businessman. While the U.S. is certainly not immune, the level of public corruption is no where near what it is in most other countries.

This is a good reminder that Government contractors need strong ethical standards of conduct beginning with setting the proper "tone at the top" to prevent the acceptance of bribes by their own employees (such as from desperate subcontractors). It only takes one instance to end up in the Government's "excluded parties" database.

You can read the Justice Department's press release on this case by clicking here.

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