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Louis Berger has admitted to bribing officials in India and 3 other countries to secure contracts

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Washington: Louis Berger International Inc. (LBI), a New Jersey-based construction management company, has admitted that it bribed officials in India and three other countries to secure government construction management contracts.

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But neither the company which last week agreed to pay a $17.1 million criminal penalty to resolve charges of bribing officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Kuwait, nor the Justice Department has disclosed the names of the bribe takers.

Two of the company’s former executives also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with the scheme.

Louis Berger has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and admitted its criminal conduct, including its conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, according to the Justice Department.

The company has also agreed to implement rigorous internal controls, to continue to cooperate fully with the department and to retain a compliance monitor for at least three years.

Richard Hirsch, 61, of Makaati, Philippines, and James McClung, 59, of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA.

Hirsch previously served as the Senior Vice President responsible for the company’s operations in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

McClung previously served as the Senior Vice President responsible for the company’s operations in India and, subsequent to Hirsch, in Vietnam.

The sentencing hearings for Hirsch and McClung are scheduled for Nov 5.

According to the charging documents, from 1998 through 2010, the company and its employees, including Hirsch and McClung, orchestrated $3.9 million in bribe payments to foreign officials in various countries in order to secure government contracts.

To conceal the payments, the co-conspirators made payments under the guise of “commitment fees,” “counterpart per diems,” and other payments to third-party vendors.

In reality, the payments were intended to fund bribes to foreign officials who had awarded contracts to Louis Berger or who supervised the firm’s work on contracts.

A Louis Berger statement said “in total, the company self-identified and self-reported findings of misconduct in Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Kuwait between 1998 and 2010 totaling $3.9 million in bribes.”

(IANS)

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Central Government to Launch ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ Scheme in a Bid to Curb Corruption

There will also be the creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in checking duplication

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one nation, one ration card, corruption
An Indian agency distributing ration. Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to curb corruption and dependence on one Public Distribution System (PDS) shop, the Central government will launch the ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme.

The scheme, according to Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan, will ensure that all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any shop of their own choice.

The Minister asserted that the biggest beneficiary of this will be those migrant labourers who move to other states to seek better job opportunities and will ensure their food security. “This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption,” the Ministry said in a statement.

ration card scheme, corruption
There will also be the creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in checking duplication. Wikimedia Commons

It added that in the next two months, beneficiaries of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will be able to access the PDS shops. The objective of the department is to ensure that this is implemented nationally in a time bound manner.

ALSO READ: Dr Harsh Vardhan Orders Ban on Sale of Biscuits in his Ministry; Only Healthy Snacks to be Served

At present, the Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS) is a system that is already operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura wherein a beneficiary can avail his share of food grain from any district in the state. Other states have also assured that IMPDS will be implemented at the earliest, the statement said.

There will also be the creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in checking duplication. (IANS)