Coming Soon to the Grievance Board Near You

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) Semiannual Report to the Congress for the Department of State (Department) and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recently went online. This most recent report covers the period ending March 31, 2011.

The report includes a summary of inspections, audits, and investigations conducted by the OIG including the following:

False Claims

OIG conducted an investigation of two Department employees who submitted false travel claims for reimbursement of official travel. The two employees shared a hotel room and taxi fare while on official travel, but each submitted a separate claim for the full cost of the hotel room and the taxi fare. The total amount of the false claim made by the two employees was approximately $1,500. On October 22, 2010, the Bureau of Human Resources (HR) notified OIG that it was proposing to suspend both employees without pay for 26 days. (C2010-040 & C2010-041)

Employee Misconduct

OIG conducted an investigation of a Department employee who was falsifying her time and attendance records and engaging in unauthorized outside employment. The investigation determined that the employee had been doing work for her outside employer on her government computer. On October 4, 2010, HR notified the employee that she was being suspended for 45 days without pay. (C2008-090)

OIG conducted an investigation of a Department employee who, as the chairman of an awards committee, intervened in the process to get two performance awards approved for himself and his wife, who was also a Department employee. The approval was made without the knowledge of the other committee members. On October 29, 2010, HR proposed a 3-day suspension for the employee. (C2010-023)

The following already went past the grievance process:

False Statements

OIG investigated a Department employee who provided false statements during a prior subject interview conducted by OIG and DS special agents in January 2006. The investigation concerned the employee’s acceptance of money and other gifts in exchange for the issuance of visas while he was a consular officer assigned to an embassy. On November 23, 2010, the employee pleaded guilty to providing a materi­ally false statement to law enforcement officers concerning his fraudulent issuance of visas. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Public Integrity Section, through the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On February 11, 2011, the former employee was sentenced to 1 year supervised probation, $1000 fine (to be paid immediately), and a $100 special assessment. (C2010-077)

Wire Fraud Conspiracy

OIG conducted a joint investigation, with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, of a Department employee assigned to Iraq who solicited bribes and kickbacks from vendors in exchange for the award of Department contracts. The investigation determined that the employee accepted a large number of payments from a company that was awarded a Department contract and that the contract was inflated in cost by the amount received by the subject. The subject was arrested and agreed to plead guilty in to one count of Wire Fraud Conspiracy, and to pay $106,800 in restitution.

Source: The Office of Inspector General (OIG) Semiannual Report to the Congress (ending March 31, 2011)