Ex-Army Officer Admits Taking Bribes for Iraq Contracts

iraq4.jpgAP | A retired Army lieutenant colonel pleaded guilty Tuesday to steering a Pentagon contract for warehouses in Iraq to a contractor in return for $4,000 cash and a $5,000 trip to Thailand.Levonda J. Selph pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy in U.S. District Court as part of a plea bargain with the government in which she agreed to cooperate with the investigation. The Virginia resident also agreed to pay the government $9,000 in restitution and serve a prison term.

She agreed to sentencing guidelines that could result in a prison term of up to two years and nine months. The length will be set by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 14.

The government said that in 2005 Lt. Col. Selph of the Army National Guard served in Baghdad as head of a selection board that awarded an annual $12 million contract to build and operate Defense Department warehouses in Iraq. The winning contractor was not identified by name in the court documents.

Selph admitted she leaked confidential government information about the contract to the head of the winning contracting company and helped him submit phony bid packages on behalf of six separate companies he controlled “to create the appearance of competition, when, in fact, no competition existed.” In return, she was paid $4,000 by the contractor and took a trip with his wife to Thailand during which he paid $5,000 for Selph’s airfare and accommodations.