Assam: US justice dept. says, improper payment in Louis Berger case


GUWAHATI, June 27, 2018: The US justice department has said improper payment of money was made by sub-contractors engaged by Louis Berger International Inc, a New Jersey-based construction management company, for central Guwahati and North Guwahati water supply projects, with the approval of a senior official.

RTI activist Bhaben Handique told reporters here on Tuesday that this was revealed in response to a letter written by him. He said he has sent the report to the CBI, which has been probing the Louis Berger bribery scandal in Assam, and will communicate with the Enforcement Directorate's office in the state.

Last October, the CBI had filed a 40-page FIR in Delhi against unnamed officials of the company and the Assam government over allegations of bribery in securing government contracts.

The response, according to documents released by Handique, said, from 2010 to 2011, James McClung, in-charge of Louis Berger for Guwahati water supply project, authorized and approved payments of more than $873,149 made by the company subcontractors, Segmental, Holistics and KJ Techno, in connection with the company's water supply project in Guwahati, India, with the knowledge that such payments improperly benefited McClung and that the three subcontractors would be used as intermediaries to facilitate the making of improper payments to certain individuals in violation of the company's policies and procedures, without notice to or authorities of the company's management.

It further said, "Upon information and belief, McClung also authorized and approved payments totalling $853,732 intended in whole or in part for government officials and agents associated with the Guwahati water supply project. An August 17, 2010 email to McClung indicated that as of that date, approximately $685,000 had been paid."

The report also said, "From 2001 to 2010, McClung authorized and approved 290 other improper payments totalling $1.178 million made from the company directly to certain individuals and or entities in violation of the company's policies and procedures. McClung concealed the truth of the 290 payments from the company by causing it to be coded to the other general expenses accounts in the company's general ledger in an effort to disguise the payments as normal company business expenses, and by instructing that these be described in the company's transaction reports as 'field operation'.

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: The Telegraph