WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- The Justice Department Thursday announced the indictment of three former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme.
The former employees, along with two foreign contractors, were charged in a 54-count indictment with bribery and fraud in connection with the award of more than $50 million in construction and infrastructure contracts in Iraq, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey said in a statement.
The five defendants named in the indictment are Egyptian-born U.S. citizen John Alfy Salama Markus, 39, of Nazareth, Pa.; Onisem Gomez, 32, a U.S. citizen residing in Chiriqui, Panama; Ammar Al-Jobory, aka "Ammar Hussein Muhammed Al-Jobory," 33, an Iraqi citizen; Ahmed Nouri, aka "Ahmed Bahjat," 41, a citizen of Great Britain residing in Greece and Iraq; and Mithaq Al-Fahal, aka "Mithaq Mahmood Al-Fahal," 36, an Iraqi citizen.
"According to the indictment, Salama Markus and his co-conspirators corrupted tens of millions in Iraq construction contracts," Fishman said. "The defendants allegedly treated projects to secure safe access to fuel, electricity, education and medical treatment as opportunities for illegally amassing personal wealth. Bribes are not part of the cost of doing business with or in the United States; they are a violation of our laws and an unfair tarnish on those who serve our country with honor."
"The allegations in this indictment of corrupt activity by Salama Markus and representatives of the Defense Department's Army Corp of Engineers are disturbing in light of the many sacrifices our men and women in the Armed Forces are making every day," said Edward T. Bradley, special agent in charge of the Department of Defense's Defense Criminal Investigative Service Northeast Field Office. "The American taxpayer expects DoD to manage a procurement system free of bribery and corruption and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service is committed to aggressively pursue these crimes and to support their prosecution to the fullest."