By Debbie Gregory.
At the center of a tangled web of bribery and corruption, sits military contractor George H. Lee Jr. The Defense Department has described his case as the largest contracting and bribery case to come out of the Iraq War. In spite of being sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison Lee Jr. said he did little, if anything, wrong.
Lee has rejected the prosecution’s claims that in exchange for $20 million in contracts that Army officials steered his way, he lavished them with $1 million in cash, jewelry, spa treatments, and hotel stays.
“I know what I did was wrong, but I just have this feeling that I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. This response lacks any logic!
Also implicated in the bribery scheme were Lee’s son, Justin, and five high-ranking officers. They have all pleaded guilty. Nearly all have been sentenced to prison terms.
In addition to Lee’s prison sentence, he has been barred from seeking any government contract work in the three years following his release.
This case concludes a nine-year Defense Department investigation that looked in to the supply chain of equipment and supplies provided for American and Iraqi troops in the early days of the war.
Officials contend that a “culture of corruption” emerged at the small office in the Kuwaiti desert outpost of Camp Arifjan, which housed the Army Contracting Command. There, a half-dozen officers made decisions on $65 billion in military spending to aid Iraqi reconstruction efforts.
Former civilian contractors have described Arifjan as a place where costs didn’t matter, oversight was next to nonexistent, and equipment often disappeared or was never delivered. In that environment, prosecutors said, Lee thrived.
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Bribery Will Get You Four Years: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory