Maryland man guilty of diverting Afghan reconstruction funds

December 4, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

A man from Maryland pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme that involved diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for the reconstruction of Afghanistan for his own use instead, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Oyetayo Fagbenro admitted to filing a false document with the State Department for one of the grants he had received towards reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, in which he stated he had spent all the funds properly and needed more to finish the project.

Fagbenro admitted he was awarded three grants to build media centers at Afghan universities, as part of the US’ continuing efforts in Afghan reconstruction. As part of his guilty plea, he also stated that between September 2010 and August 2012 he received around $6.9 million in advances for part of the work on the projects.

He further admitted that in that same period he sent roughly $1.38 million from Afghan accounts funded by the State Department to persons he knew and entities he controlled in the US and other countries, all outside of Afghanistan.

About $775,000 of the funds he sent outside Afghanistan went to relatives, friends, and corporate entities he controlled with no connection to the purposes of the grants. In December 2012, Fagbenro filed the document seeking more funds.

His sentencing has been scheduled for February 12, 2021, before Chief Judge Howell.