Independent Contractor in Afghanistan Sentenced to 48 Months for His Role in Offering $54,000 in Bribes to a U.S. Government Official
Earlier today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Akbar Ahmad Sherzai, an independent contractor for a trucking company operating in Afghanistan responsible for delivering fuel to U.S. Army installations, was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and forfeiture of $54,000 for his role in offering a U.S. Army serviceman bribes to falsify documents to reflect the successful delivery of fuel shipments that Army records indicate were never delivered. The sentencing proceeding was held before U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie. Sherzai previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
The sentence was announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, Raymond R. Parmer, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.
“Attempts to corrupt American officials will not be tolerated, either at home or abroad,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie. “Our efforts to bring to justice those who would do so do not end at our nation’s borders.” Mr. Currie extended his grateful appreciation to each of the agencies who participated in the investigation and prosecution of this case.
The U.S. Army regularly contracts with local Afghan trucking companies to transport U.S. military equipment, fuel, and other supplies throughout Afghanistan. To ensure the companies fulfilled these requests, the U.S. Army used transportation movement requests (TMRs), which, when properly completed, verified that the shipments were successfully completed before approving payments to the trucking companies.
In April 2013, Sherzai approached a U.S. military serviceman to discuss fuel delivery missions that had been classified by the U.S. Army as “no-shows,” meaning that the fuel had not been delivered. Sherzai offered the serviceman a bribe to falsify the TMRs to reflect successful deliveries so that Sherzai’s company would receive payment and avoid penalties for failed fuel deliveries. The serviceman, under the supervision of law enforcement, continued to meet with Sherzai to discuss payments for the falsification of records. On two separate occasions, Sherzai paid the serviceman bribes in cash on American military bases in Afghanistan. On another occasion, Sherzai arranged for the serviceman’s bribe to be transferred to the United States through a hawala, an informal money transfer system. In total, Sherzai paid the serviceman $54,000 in cash to falsify 14 TMRs. Each “no show” delivery mission, absent the fraudulent TMRs, would have resulted in a fine of the company by the U.S. government of $75,000.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amir H. Toossi and Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
- AKBAR AHMAD SHERZAI
- Age: 50
- Centerville, Virginia
- Citizenship: Dual United States and Afghanistan
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-Cr-60 (MKB)