Businessman Accused of Taking Bribe in Afghanistan And Promising to Steer U.S.-Funded Contracts

Press Release

WASHINGTON - A senior construction manager for an intergovernmental organization working in Afghanistan has been detained on a bribery charge contained in an indictment that was unsealed today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Inspector General Donald Gambatesa, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Arnold Fields, and Assistant Director Kevin Perkins of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. Neil P. Campbell, 60, was indicted August 19, 2010, by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. on the charge of receiving a bribe as an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. The indictment was unsealed following his detention today in New Delhi, India by agents of the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation.

According to the indictment, Campbell worked for the International Organization on Migration (IOM), which has received more than $260 million since 2002 from USAID. IOM has worked closely with both the U.S. and Afghanistan governments to construct hospitals, schools and other facilities.

The indictment alleges that from on or about May 25, 2010, until on or about August 5, 2010, in Afghanistan, Campbell corruptly solicited a bribe for awarding sub-contracts funded by USAID. According to the indictment, Campbell allegedly solicited a one-time cash payment of
$190,000 to allow a sub-contractor in Afghanistan to continue working on projects to build a hospital and provincial teaching college.

Campbell, a citizen of Australia, is facing extradition from India to the United States to answer to this charge. The maximum penalty on the bribery charge is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the likely prison term for the offense is in the range of 41 to 51 months.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

The United States remains committed to working together with the Government of Afghanistan and its international partners to fight corruption, including identifying and prosecuting those who commit fraud and corruption in the use of U.S. funds.

“There is too much at stake in Afghanistan to tolerate individuals who corrupt efforts to build schools and hospitals by lining their own pockets,” U.S. Attorney Machen stated. “We will continue to be vigilant to ensure that Americans’ tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.”

Arnold Fields, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said, “This arrest serves as a strong warning to all who defraud the U.S. in Afghanistan that they will be found and held accountable, regardless of citizenship.”

This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Substantial assistance was provided by the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI Legal Attaché, and the Judicial Attaché Office in Kabul. The case is being investigated by the USAID Office of Inspector General, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the FBI, and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force (NPFTF) and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).

The NPFTF, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention, and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The ICCTF is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate, and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations worldwide, including in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq.