Corruption Probe Over Iraq Cell Phone Contract

It just gets worse and worse. We’ve written before about various questionable decisions in the naming of wireless companies to help offer mobile phone service in Iraq, and now one defense official is being investigated for corruption concerning his role in trying to get a contract awarded without a bidding process. In an attempt to get the nation to go with a CDMA infrastructure (shades of an earlier politically motivated debate) he helped some friends set up a consortium to bid on the project with a small business owned by native Alaskans. It turns out that, according to federal laws, Native Alaskan-owned businesses can be awarded large government contracts without having to go through the standard competitive bidding process. When asked about it, the guy doesn’t seem to understand that he might have done something wrong: “Hey, we won the war. Is it not in our interests to have the most advanced system that we possibly can that can then become the dominant standard in the region?” We’re all for letting the best technology win, but that doesn’t mean by skirting the laws and potentially enriching yourself and your friends.

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