Bloomberg reports that three former employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been charged along with two other men with participating in a bribery and kickback scheme involving more than $50 million in Iraqi contracts.
The indictment unsealed on Thursday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, [U.S. v. Markus, 11-cr-366, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark)] accused John Alfy Salama Markus, 39; Onisem Gomez, 32, and Ammar Al-Jobory, 33, of using their USACE positions to solicit bribes for construction and infrastructure contracts.
“The defendants allegedly treated projects to secure safe access to fuel, electricity, education and medical treatment as opportunities for illegally amassing personal wealth,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.
The 54-count indictment also charged Ahmed Nouri, 41, and Mithaq Al-Fahal, 36, with participating in the scheme. They were employees of separate private engineering and construction companies that got contracts in Iraq.
Markus and Nouri were first charged in October. Markus, a U.S. citizen and Egyptian-born resident of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, is free on $500,000 bail with electronic monitoring. Nouri, a U.K. citizen, was a vice president at Iraqi Consultants & Construction Bureau.
Prosecutors said Markus, a USACE project manager, solicited bribes in exchange for confidential bidding information and took $4.2 million in illicit payments. The money covered contracts for companies involving Nouri and Al-Fahal, an Iraqi citizen and project manager at Sakar Al-Fahal, prosecutors said.
“My client denies the allegations,” said Markus’s attorney, Michael Rogers. “As of right now, it’s just an indictment and we really haven’t seen the government’s evidence. He awaits his day in court.”
The projects included security enhancements to the Bayji [Baiji, Beiji] oil refinery, design and construction of the Baqubah landfill, and protection to the Bayji oil pipeline, according to the indictment.