Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) employee Mark E. Miller pleaded guilty Tuesday to soliciting bribes from Afghan contractors to the tune of $320,000.
Miller, who hails from Springfield, Ill., was charged on July 18 with one count of seeking and receiving bribes, as he accepted cash from Afghans in exchange for helping them gain an advantage on contracts.
The Army Corps of Engineers employed the 48-year-old from 2005 to 2015, and he worked specifically in Afghanistan for a period of three years spanning from 2009 to 2012. For most of his time in Afghanistan, he was located at the military base Camp Clark, where he worked as a contracting officer representative.
In 2009, USACE handed a $2.9 million dollar road construction project to an Afghan construction company. Later, the cost of the contract ballooned to $8.1 million. Miller in the course of his work oversaw the projected and verified that construction was taking place. He also authorized payments to the company.
Miller admitted as part of his guilty plea that he solicited bribes from the company in return for ensuring the contract continued. He received $280,000 for keeping the contract active and an extra $40,000 for potential contract opportunities that could have been awarded to the construction company.
Corruption of this sort is commonplace in Afghanistan. Transparency International’s corruption perception index in 2015 placed Afghanistan at 166 out of 188 countries.
Miller’s sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 30.
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