An independent contractor for a trucking company in Afghanistan that delivered fuel to U.S. Army bases was sentenced to four years in prison for offering a U.S. serviceman bribes to falsify confirm fuel shipments that weren’t really delivered.
Akbar Ahmed Sherzai, 50, of Centreville, Virginia, pleaded guilty in February last year to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
In addition to the four-year prison sentence, federal judge Margo Brodie of the Eastern District of New York ordered Sherzai to forfeit $54,000.
Sherzai was employed by a local Afghan trucking company contracted to transport fuel between U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. In April 2013, he approached a U.S. military serviceman to discuss “no-show” missions when his company failed to deliver fuel. For each no-show, the company was fined $75,000 under its contract.
Sherzai offered the serviceman bribes to falsify documents to confirm deliveries, so that Sherzai’s company and others could recover the fines they had paid for no-shows.
“On several occasions, Sherzai paid cash bribes to the serviceman, who, unbeknownst to Sherzai, was working with law enforcement,” the DOJ said.
Sherzai acknowledged paying the serviceman $54,000 to falsify nine no-show deliveries. That allowed Sherzai’s company and others to avoid or recover $675,000 in fines.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the FBI were among the agencies that investigated the case.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.
The public perception is that there is no consistency in sentencing in these cases. Comparing this sentence to non-custodial sentences in large scale corruption cases leads one to conclude that there is much more to this story. Reporting the rest of the story would help easing the public concern that there are sweetheart deals for connected defendants.
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