US army official arrested over corruption in Kuwait

A former US Army logistics officer arrested in the Philippines last week will be extradited to the US to face a corruption trial related to defence contracts that he facilitated while working at the US army base in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

The US Justice Department, along with the criminal investigation authorities of the Pentagon and the US military, have initiated the lawsuit against the officer, who is charged with corruption, including engaging in bribes and receiving illegal financial gratuities from an Indian businessman who runs a company in Kuwait.

The charges against the officer are reported to trace back to the period between 2010 and 2014, when he was working at Camp Arifjan as logistics officer and was responsible for coordinating award procedures and following up on the implementation of contracts. During this period, the former officer is said to have brokered a bribe to a senior official in a Kuwaiti company that had a major contract with the US military. The bribe was intended to get the company to award US military subcontracts to firms owned by the Indian businessman in Kuwait.

The former officer is also accused of having expressed his willingness to inflate the value of Camp Arifjan’s contracts, with the value difference being shared by both the main company official and the Indian businessman. The case papers include documents proving that the accused and his family members in the Philippines received huge financial transfers as bribes and illegal gratuities from the Indian businessman and another contractor in exchange for facilitating their subcontracting from the main company.

The American officer, who is of Filipino origin, was apprehended in Manila where he had been living since 2016. The US Department of Justice is now said to be coordinating with the Philippine authorities to extradite the 62-year-old suspect back to the US to stand trial. The Indian businessman, against whom an arrest warrant has also been issued to face trial in a US court, is said to have left Kuwait and his current whereabouts were not known.