In 2004, Afghan contractor Noor Alam was looking to secure some lucrative United States contracts for his firm, the Northern Reconstruction Organization.
So apparently he decided to grease some palms, specifically those of Army Maj. Christopher West, head of operations on Bagram Air Base.
As Alam admitted in federal court, the Associated Press reports, he paid West a bribe of $27,000 to direct contracts to the NRO. Alam was promptly contracted to supply the base with bunkers and barriers, a contract that netted Alam's company more than $1 million.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the case is part of a broader inquiry into fraudulent military contracts:
West allegedly split the money with his assistant, Illinois National Guard Lt. Robert Moore, and Air Force Master Sgt. Patrick Boyd of Florida.
West has admitted taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from other Afghan contractors. He and Moore mailed their cash back to Chicago where they lived. In 2005, one of Moore’s packages containing more than $10,000 was intercepted by customs officials in London’s Heathrow Airport, officials said.
In a court filing, prosecutors said that Major West, a member of the Illinois National Guard, saw Afghanistan as an opportunity to get rich, "ultimately concluding that ‘fleecing the government’ was the American way." He reportedly spent some of the payoff money on prostitutes and alcohol, according to the Sun-Times.