Navy reprimands Hawaii sailor for accepting contractor gifts
HONOLULU (AP) — The Navy has censured a Pearl Harbor-based active duty captain for “repeatedly and improperly” accepting gifts from a defense contractor at the center of a fraud and bribery scheme that cost the government about $35 million.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer sent Capt. Charles A. Johnson a censure letter last month saying he accepted the gifts from Leonard Glenn Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard,” The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.
More than two dozen people have been charged in related cases, including more than 20 current and former Navy officials.
The Navy said there’s a five-year statute of limitations for court-martial charges. It’s not considering such charges against Johnson, but is evaluating what further administrative action it will take.
Through Navy Region Hawaii, Johnson declined to comment to the Star-Advertiser.
On July 26, 2006, Francis, who is based in Singapore, paid over $6,000 for food, alcohol and entertainment for a party in the Asian nation to celebrate Johnson’s promotion to commander, the censure states. Johnson, who was serving with Carrier Strike Group 5 at the time, paid $500 for the party, the document says.
Johnson, in turn, disclosed “official information” to Francis, the Navy said.
Francis, a Malaysian national, pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges over the decade-long conspiracy.
From 2004 to 2010, Francis and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, gave Johnson expensive gifts and dinners, with a company employee referring internally to the Navy officer as “in (Francis’) pocket,” according to the censure.
Johnson was censured along with a retired Navy captain and a retired rear admiral for their roles in the scandal. “Each officer’s conduct is an embarrassment to the thousands of officers, sailors and civilians who do the right thing every day,” Spencer said in a news release.
Francis made the payouts in exchange for help in steering lucrative ship service contracts to Glenn Defense in the 7th Fleet, the Navy’s Western Pacific area of operations, officials said.
The Justice Department has called the scheme a fleecing and betrayal of the Navy of epic proportions, and said it amounted to a “staggering degree of corruption by the most prominent leaders of the 7th Fleet.”
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com