FSM government in the dark about federal bribery case
The Federated States of Micronesia is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to share with its local counterpart information on a criminal case involving a Hawaiian businessman accused of bribing FSM and Hawaiian officials to bag contracts for U.S.-funded projects.
Frank James Lyon, president of the civil engineering firm Lyon Associates in Honolulu, was slapped with criminal charges in the US District Court for Hawaii.
According to the indictment filed Jan. 18 by the U.S. justice department, Lyon paid bribes in various forms, including cash and travel perks to Micronesian officials in order to secure engineering contracts in the FSM. He pleaded guilty to charges on Jan. 22 and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
“This news is as disturbing to the FSM government as it is to the citizenry of the nation, and the allegations are being taken seriously by the administration,” reads a statement from the FSM Information Service.
“Accordingly, the FSM national government has officially requested the support and cooperation of the U.S. government in the form of any amplifying information and details that may be shared or provided to the FSM Department of Justice; particularly, as it pertains to the alleged FSM involvement. This information is critical to the FSM government in helping to understand the details of the case and associated allegations in their entirety.”
The Kaselehlie Press reported that the U.S. accused Lyon of bribing officials in Hawaii to gain a $2.5 million contract. Lyon is also alleged to have bribed officials in the FSM to get a $7.8 million contract for a project funded in large part by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and for project management.” The bribe payments were allegedly made between 2006 and 2016.
“The FSM national government is committed to transparency, and to fair and equal treatment under the law, and will take all appropriate legal measures required in this active, and on-going criminal case,” the FSMIS said.