American Military Contractor Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Government Equipment from U.S. Military Base in Afghanistan

An American military contractor pleaded guilty on October 13 to her role in a theft ring on a military installation in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Varita V. Quincy, 35, of Snellville, Georgia pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of making false official statements. Sentencing is set for February 23, 2021 before Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.

Quincy admitted that, between April 2015 and July 2015, she, Larry J. Green of Chesapeake, Virginia, and others conspired to steal, and did steal, equipment and property of value to the United States while working for a government contractor operating on Kandahar Airfield, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Kandahar Airfield was used by U.S. military forces to support U.S. military missions throughout Afghanistan. 

Quincy was a supervisor in the office that issued security badges required for the movement of personnel and property on and off Kandahar Airfield. Quincy admitted that as part of the conspiracy, Green identified items of value to steal, such as vehicles, generators, refrigerators, and other equipment. Green negotiated the sale of those items with persons outside of the installation. Quincy then facilitated the thefts by creating false official documents, or instructing those she supervised to prepare such documents, to facilitate the entry of unknown and unvetted Afghan nationals and their vehicles on to the military installation to remove the stolen property.  Quincy shared in the profits from this scheme. The false documents she created, or directed others to create, were used to deceive security officers and gate guards and thereby compromised the security and safety of the military installation.

Quincy’s co-conspirator Green pleaded guilty on July 8, 2020, to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit theft of property of value to the United States

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Punish contractors who execute shoddy works on oil-funded projects – PIAC to government

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee has urged government to initiate punitive measures against contractors who execute shoddy works on oil-funded projects. 

According to PIAC, which has oversight responsibility over the management of the country’s petroleum revenues, such practice defeats the purpose of value for money for the use of petroleum revenues.

It explained that the petroleum revenues come from a depleting resource base, a reason the law provided for using Petroleum revenue in ways that support intergenerational benefit.

The Committee also called on government to recognize other contractors who have demonstrated value for the use of petroleum revenues through the delivery of good projects.

The Chairman of PIAC, Noble Wadzah made the call after he led a PIAC team to visit selected oil-funded projects in the Eastern Region.

The exercise forms part of the Committees regular activity to identify with effective use of the countries petroleum revenues.

The projects the community visited included the Construction of Community Health-Based Planning Service (CHPS) compound at Ahankrasu, construction of Irrigation Infrastructure at Aditrase and Kornokle in the Yilo Krobo District and the Payment for a 3-Unit classroom block at Amanase Aboabo JHS and Owusu Wawase D/A Primary.

The rest are Bitumen Surfacing of New Tafo – Nobi – Samlesi – Anwiabeng Feeder roads, Construction of Irrigation Infrastructure at Aditrase and Kornole in the Yilo Krobo District and upgrading of Kade Wenchi Akim Oda Roads.

CHPS compound

Information made available to the PIAC Team indicated that the contract was awarded in November 2018. As at the time of PIAC’s visit, main construction works on the CHPS have been completed, finishing works were ongoing, while external works were underway. Supply and installation of medical equipment was yet to begin. The overall progress stands at 95 per cent.

The construction of the CHPS compound, which

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Nearly three times more COVID deaths in Mississippi’s for-profit nursing homes, analysis shows | State Government

Twice as many residents caught COVID-19 at Mississippi’s for-profit nursing homes, and nearly three times more died there, an analysis of health data by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting shows.

The average number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in these for-profit homes? Four in 10 residents.

One possible factor: 80% of Mississippi’s nursing homes had already been cited for infection-control problems before the pandemic hit.

Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco who discovered similar results in a just-released study of nursing homes in California, said the current pandemic is exposing problems that have persisted for decades. “We’ve just looked the other way for 30 years,” she said.

OSHA has been investigating three nursing homes in Mississippi, all of them for-profit, for workplace catastrophes or fatalities, including Lakeside Health & Rehabilitation Center in Quitman. One of the home’s nursing assistants, Carole Faye Doby of Stonewall, died of COVID May 15, and two residents also died of the disease.

A week or more before she contracted the coronavirus, Doby warned her family that “things were getting bad at the nursing home, and that we didn’t need to come around,” recalled her daughter, Shenika Jackson of Clinton.

She said her mother shared that a fellow worker and a resident (who later died) had both come down with the disease.

On May 6, Doby was tested for COVID. Days later, they saw her on Mother’s Day, Jackson said. “We did see her on Sunday, Mother’s Day. We sat outside the porch and ate lunch. She was inside the window.”

By May 11, her mother still didn’t have results and continued to get sicker so she saw a doctor, who had her rushed to the hospital by ambulance, Jackson said.

Because of COVID, she couldn’t visit with her

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OFCCP Issues Guidance on Government Contractor EO

Quick Hit:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has issued guidance on President Trump’s September 22, 2020 “Executive Order on Combatting Race and Sex Stereotyping” (the “Order”) which restricts the concepts which contractors may include in anti-discrimination and diversity trainings provided to their employees.  Though much of the publication summarizes key provisions of the Order, two key components provide important guidance:  (1) although the Order’s prohibitions will only apply directly to contractors with contracts executed after November 21, 2020, OFCCP warns including the prohibited concepts in trainings may also violate the non-discrimination obligations found in Executive Order 11246 which apply to all federal contractors; and (2) OFCCP does not view the Order as barring all forms of unconscious bias or implicit bias trainings.

Key Takeaways:

Whether or not federal contractors are parties to contracts entered into after November 21, 2020, all contractors need to be aware of the restrictions contained in the Order, particularly given the hotline OFCCP established last week to receive complaints about trainings that violate the Order.  Contractors should also review the Order carefully to understand its precise parameters as they assess whether to enter into new contracts with the federal government.  Contractors may determine that they can continue their existing training programs and comply with the letter of the Order.  For example, as OFCCP has recognized, contractors can continue to provide their unconscious bias and similar trainings, provided they do not teach that a particular race or sex is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive.”

Contractors should also be aware that the Order, and OFCCP’s actions in response to it, reflect a growing focus on race discrimination of any kind, as opposed to only discrimination against traditionally disadvantaged groups.  Contractors must be aware that some efforts at

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Scottish Government Orders Edinburgh International Festival to Make Improvements to Diversity in its Programming

This comes after claims were made that women, disabled acts, and artists of color were overlooked in this year’s online programme.

The Edinburgh International Festival has been ordered to improve diversity in its programming by the Scottish Government, Edinburgh News reports.

This comes after claims were made that women, disabled acts, and artists of color were overlooked in this year’s online programme. The event will be monitored in the future to ensure it makes improvements.

Formal complaints made to culture secretary Fiona Hyslop and Iain Munro, chief executive of the government’s arts quango, Creative Scotland urged them to take steps to “ensure positive change happens and that this organisation is held accountable for their unethical working and programming.”

The festival responded, saying: “We make no excuses for our shortcomings and recognize that we are not yet where we want to be.”

EIF director Fergus Linehan and executive director Francesca Hegyi said: “Whilst we have made significant progress in some matters relating to diversity and inclusion over recent years, we know it isn’t enough.”

Read more on Edinburgh News.

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