Afghan tribunal jails Briton for corruption: reports

27th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Afghan anti-corruption tribunal has sentenced a British manager of a security firm in Kabul to two years in a notorious prison after convicting him of bribery, reports said Tuesday.

Bill Shaw, a former British army officer, was also fined 25,000 dollars (16,200 pounds, 18,700 euros) after being found guilty of bribing an Afghan official, said the Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers.

Shaw, who has also been awarded an MBE, an official British honour, has admitted paying for the release of two armoured cars, which were impounded in October last year.

But his defence insisted he thought he was making an official release payment rather than handing over a bribe.

Shaw was working as the commercial manager of the G4S security firm when he was arrested, which provided security for Western embassies in Kabul, including Britain's, said the papers.

He will be sent within a week to Pul-e-Charkhi, a jail on the outskirts of Kabul infamous for its squalor and the influence of Taliban inmates, said the Guardian.

His co-defendant, an Afghan named Maiwand Limar, was also handed a two-year jail sentence without a fine by three judges working for the anti-corruption tribunal, said the papers.

The body was set up under intense international pressure for Afghan President Hamid Karzai to weed out corruption from his administration, and has received funding from Britain.

The conviction comes after Karzai at the start of this month accused foreign powers of orchestrating enormous fraud in elections that returned him to power last year.

Shaw's lawyer, Kimberley Motley, told the Guardian the trial had been poorly conducted and there would be an immediate appeal.

A G4S spokesman criticised the charges against Shaw as "totally misconceived."

"We continue to believe the charges against both Bill Shaw and Maiwand Limar were totally misconceived, not proven in court and we stand fully behind their innocence," the spokesman told the Telegraph.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said diplomats would "continue to monitor the case closely and will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr Shaw."

© 2010 AFP

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