The Navy has censured three admirals for their roles in a bribery scandal where a Singapore businessman wined, dined and bribed Navy officials to gain valuable port services contracts in Asia.
The three senior officers, one of whom was the superintendent at the U.S. Naval Academy, will be allowed to retire after receiving the non-judicial punishment.
According to a Navy statement, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued Letters of Censure to the three officers for their involvement in the scandal involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a company run by Leonard Glenn Francis. Known by the nickname of “Fat Leonard,” Francis plead guilty last month to federal charges of bribing Naval officers to gain service contracts from the Navy in Asian ports. Five present and former Naval officers have plead guilty in the case, which continues under investigation.
The officers received the letters because their behavior did not rise to the level of criminal behavior, but still violated the Navy’s ethical standards.
That included improperly accepting gifts, improperly endorsing a commercial business, and solicitation of gifts and services when they served in the region. The Navy’s review of their involvement in the case said accepting the gifts “cultivated an unacceptable ethical climate within the respective commands.”
Receiving the letters of censure were Vice Admiral Mike Miller, the former superintendent of the Naval Academy, Rear Admiral Terry Kraft, Commander, Navy Region Japan, and Rear Admiral David Pimpo, who ran Naval Supply Systems Command. All three served aboard the carrier USS Ronald Reagan during deployments to the Western Pacific in the 2006 to 2007 timeframe.
"All Navy officers, particularly our senior leadership in positions of unique trust and responsibility, must uphold and be held to the highest standards of personal and professional behavior,” said Mabus in the Navy statement. He added that the three officers “demonstrated poor judgment and a failure of leadership in prior tours."
Kraft and Pimpo have been removed from their current positions and will be allowed to retire, as will Miller, who was scheduled to retire last summer when he finished his tour as superintendent of the Naval Academy. He was kept on active duty pending the results of the investigation into the case.
"Censure was both necessary and appropriate," said Mabus. "I have now received the retirement requests of all three officers, and we will process them appropriately."
The GDMA case continues being investigated by the Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service and the NCIS and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California in San Diego and the Department of Justice Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., are leading the prosecution.
According to the Navy statement, “It is anticipated that they will refer additional cases to the Navy for review and disposition. The Navy will review these matters and take appropriate action. The time of completion is unknown, but it is expected that this process will continue for some time.”