Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
Office of Public Affairs
SIGAR Special Agents Win Public Service Award
-U.S. Attorney's Office Lauds Work in Major Bribery Case-
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - SIGAR special agents received a Public Service Award today from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia for their work in a major bribery case in Afghanistan. This annual reward is given to individuals who provide extraordinary assistance in a federal case before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Special Agents Wai Man Leung and Philip Cousin were honored for their work investigating Sidharth Handa, a former U.S. Army Reserve captain who solicited $1.3 million in bribes from contractors while assigned to a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunar Province in 2008.
"This is the largest bribery prosecution to come out of Afghanistan and a reminder of how corruption threatens America's mission there," said Steven J Trent, Acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
"Mr. Handa would not have come to justice if not for the hard work and dedication of these agents. I am exceedingly proud of them and their commitment to protecting American taxpayers."
Handa was sentenced on Sept. 23, 2011, to 120 months in federal prison for soliciting $1.3 million in bribes from contractors involved in U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts and participating in a conspiracy to traffic Southeast Asian heroin. He was also ordered to pay $315,000 restitution. He admitted to receiving that amount in bribes and to attempting to collect $1 million in bribes after leaving Afghanistan. More on the Handa case may be found here: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/September/11-crm-1248.html