October 21, 2021

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Former Chief Executive Officer of Petrochemical Company Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Foreign Bribery Scheme

15 min read
<div>A Brazilian man who previously served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Braskem S.A. (Braskem), a publicly-traded Brazilian petrochemical company, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of New York to 20 months in prison for a scheme to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from Braskem into a secret slush fund and to pay bribes to government officials, political parties, and others in Brazil.</div>
A Brazilian man who previously served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Braskem S.A. (Braskem), a publicly-traded Brazilian petrochemical company, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of New York to 20 months in prison for a scheme to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from Braskem into a secret slush fund and to pay bribes to government officials, political parties, and others in Brazil.

More from: October 12, 2021

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  • Military Personnel: Perspectives on DOD’s and the Military Services’ Use of Borrowed Military Personnel
    In U.S GAO News
    Policies on the use of borrowed military personnel vary among military services. Borrowed military personnel refers to military personnel used for duties outside their assigned positions, such as security protection. DOD policy acknowledges that there may be instances in which military personnel can be used to appropriately satisfy a near-term demand but that DOD must be vigilant in ensuring that military personnel are not inappropriately utilized, particularly in a manner that may degrade readiness. Additionally, the Army and the Marine Corps have their own policies that describes how military personnel may be used on a temporary basis. DOD and the Army, Navy, and Air Force do not centrally track their use of borrowed military personnel, nor do they assess any impacts of that use on the readiness of units and personnel to accomplish their assigned missions. According to DOD and Army officials, the relatively limited use of borrowed military manpower, their limited impacts on readiness, and the existence of other readiness reporting mechanisms serve to obviate the need to collect and analyze this information centrally—especially given the resources that would be required to establish and maintain such a reporting process. The House Armed Services Committee has questioned whether DOD continues to divert servicemembers from their unit assignments to perform nonmilitary functions that could be performed by civilian employees. House Report 116-120, accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for GAO to assess the levels and impacts of borrowed military personnel. This report examines DOD's and the military services' policies on the use of borrowed military personnel, the tracking and reporting of their use of borrowed military personnel, and any impacts of that use on readiness. For more information, contact Cary Russell at (202)512-5431 or RussellC@gao.gov.
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  • Defense Infrastructure: Documentation Lacking to Fully Support How DOD Determined Specifications for the Landstuhl Replacement Medical Center
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundDepartment of Defense (DOD) officials considered current beneficiary population data, contingency operations, and most of the expected changes in troop strength when planning for the replacement medical center. However, recently announced posture changes in January 2012 have yet to be assessed for their impact on the facility. DOD estimates that the replacement medical center will provide health care for nearly 250,000 beneficiaries. A majority of those who are expected to receive health care from the center come from within a 55-mile radius of the facility. DOD officials told us that because the replacement medical center was designed for peacetime operations—with the capacity to expand to meet the needs of contingency operations—reductions in ongoing contingency operations in Afghanistan would not have an impact on facility requirements. At the time of this review, DOD officials said they were in the process of assessing proposed changes in posture to better understand their possible impact on the sizing of the replacement medical center.DOD officials incorporated patient quality of care standards as well as environmentally friendly design elements in determining facility requirements for the replacement medical center. DOD also determined the size of the facility based on its projected patient workload. Internal control standards require the creation and maintenance of adequate documentation, which should be clear and readily available for examination to inform decision making. However, GAO’s review of the documentation DOD provided in support of its facility requirements showed (1) inconsistencies in how DOD applied projected patient workload data and planning criteria to determine the appropriate size for individual medical departments, (2) some areas where the documentation did not clearly demonstrate how planners applied criteria to generate requirements, and (3) calculation errors throughout. Without clear documentation of key analyses—including information on how adjustments to facility requirements were made—and without correct calculations, stakeholders and decision makers lack reasonable assurances that the replacement medical center will be appropriately sized to meet the needs of the expected beneficiary population in Europe.DOD’s process for developing the approximately $1.2 billion cost estimate for the replacement medical center was substantially consistent with many cost estimating best practices, such as cross-checking major cost elements to confirm similar results. However, DOD minimally documented the data sources, calculations, and estimating methodologies it used in developing the cost estimate. Additionally, DOD anticipates that the new facility will become the hub of a larger medical-services-related campus, for which neither cost estimates nor time frames have yet been developed. Without a cost estimate for the facility that includes detailed documentation, DOD cannot fully demonstrate that the proposed replacement medical center will provide adequate health care capacity at the current estimated cost. Further, DOD and Congress may not have the information they need to make fully informed decisions about the facility.Why GAO Did This StudyLandstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) is DOD’s only tertiary medical center in Europe that provides specialized care for servicemembers, retirees, and their dependents. Wounded servicemembers requiring critical care are medically evacuated from overseas operations to the 86th Medical Group clinic at Ramstein Air Base to receive stabilization care before being transported to LRMC for intensive care. According to DOD, both facilities were constructed in the 1950s and are undersized to meet current and projected workload requirements. DOD plans to consolidate both facilities into a single medical center at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. In this report, GAO (1) describes how DOD considered changes in posture and the beneficiary population when developing facility requirements, (2) assesses DOD’s process for determining facility requirements, and (3) reviews DOD’s process to develop the facility’s cost estimate. GAO examined posture planning documentation, beneficiary demographic data, plans for the replacement medical center, and relevant DOD guidance, as well as interviewed relevant DOD officials.
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  • Quadrennial Defense Review: Future Reviews Could Benefit from Improved Department of Defense Analyses and Changes to Legislative Requirements
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense (DOD) is required by law to conduct a comprehensive examination of the national defense strategy, force structure, modernization plans, infrastructure, and budget every 4 years including an assessment of the force structure best suited to implement the defense strategy at low-to-moderate level of risk. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), completed in February 2006, represents the first comprehensive review that DOD had undertaken since the military forces have been engaged in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. GAO was asked to assess (1) the strengths and weaknesses of DOD's approach and methodology for the 2006 QDR and (2) what changes, if any, in the QDR legislation could improve the usefulness of the report, including any changes that would better reflect 21st century security conditions. To conduct its review, GAO analyzed DOD's methodology, QDR study guidance, and results from key analyses and also obtained views of defense analysts within and outside of DOD.DOD's approach and methodology for the 2006 QDR had several strengths, but several weaknesses significantly limited the review's usefulness in addressing force structure, personnel requirements, and risk associated with executing the national defense strategy. Key strengths of the QDR included sustained involvement of senior DOD officials, extensive collaboration with interagency partners and allied countries, and a database to track implementation of initiatives. However, GAO found weaknesses in three key areas. First, DOD did not conduct a comprehensive, integrated assessment of different options for organizing and sizing its forces to provide needed capabilities. Without such an assessment, DOD is not well positioned to balance capability needs and risks within future budgets, given the nation's fiscal challenges. Second, DOD did not provide a clear analytical basis for its conclusion that it had the appropriate number of personnel to meet current and projected demands. During its review, DOD did not consider changing personnel levels and instead focused on altering the skill mix. However, a year after the QDR report was issued, DOD announced plans to increase Army and Marine Corps personnel by 92,000. Without performing a comprehensive analysis of the number of personnel it needs, DOD cannot provide an analytical basis that its military and civilian personnel levels reflect the number of personnel needed to execute the defense strategy. Third, the risk assessments conducted by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which are required by the QDR legislation, did not fully apply DOD's risk management framework because DOD had not developed assessment tools to measure risk. Without a sound analytical approach to assessing risk, DOD may not be able to demonstrate how it will manage risk within current and expected resource levels. As a result, DOD is not in the best position to demonstrate that it has identified the force structure best suited to implement the defense strategy at low-to-moderate risk. Through discussions with DOD officials and defense analysts, GAO has identified several options for refining the QDR legislative language that Congress could consider to improve the usefulness of future QDRs, including changes to encourage DOD to focus on high priority strategic issues and better reflect security conditions of the 21st century. Congress could consider options to clarify its expectations regarding what budget information DOD should include in the QDR and eliminate reporting elements for issues that could be addressed in different reports. For example, the requirement to assess revisions to the unified command plan is also required and reported under other legislation. Further, some reporting elements such as how resources would be shifted between two conflicts could be eliminated in light of DOD's new planning approach that focuses on capabilities to meet a range of threats rather than on the allocation of forces for specific adversaries. GAO also presents an option to have an advisory group work with DOD prior to and during the QDR to provide DOD with alternative perspectives and analyses.
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  • Federal Contracting: Actions Needed to Improve Department of Labor’s Enforcement of Service Worker Wage Protections
    In U.S GAO News
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  • Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office
    In U.S GAO News
    This testimony discusses the U.S. Government Accountability Office's (GAO) budget request for fiscal year 2011. In fiscal year 2009, GAO supported congressional decision making and oversight on a range of critical issues, including the government's efforts to help stabilize financial markets and address the most severe recession since World War II. In addition to providing oversight for the 2008 Economic Stabilization Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), we continued to provide the Congress updates on programs that are at high risk for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement or are in need of broad reform, and delivered advice and analyses on a broad array of pressing domestic and international issues that demand urgent attention and continuing oversight. These include modernizing the regulatory structure for financial institutions and markets to meet 21st century demands; controlling escalating health care costs and providing more effective oversight of medical products; restructuring the U.S. Postal Service to ensure its financial stability; and improving the Department of Defense's management approaches to issues ranging from weapons system acquisitions to accounting for weapons provided to Afghan security forces. Overall, we responded to requests from every standing committee of the Senate and the House and over 70 percent of their subcommittees.As a knowledge-based organization, our ability to timely assist the Congress as it addresses the nation's challenges depends on our ability to sustain our current staffing levels. We are submitting for consideration a prudent request for $601 million for fiscal year 2011, which will allow us to maintain our capacity to assist the Congress in addressing a range of financial, social, economic, and security challenges going forward. This amount represents a 4.1 percent increase ($22.6 million) to maintain our fiscal year 2010 staffing level for "base operations," cover mandatory pay and uncontrollable costs, and reinvest savings from nonrecurring costs and efficiencies to further enhance our productivity and effectiveness. We have also requested a 3.8 percent increase ($21.6 million) to maintain the current staffing level of 144 FTEs to continue mandated Recovery Act oversight beyond the expiration of the funding we received to help offset the cost of this new responsibility. The total requested increase of 7.9 percent will allow us to continue to be responsive in supporting congressional mandates and requests.
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  • Global Health Security: USAID and CDC Funding, Activities, and Assessments of Countries’ Capacities to Address Infectious Disease Threats before COVID-19 Onset
    In U.S GAO News
    Pour la version française de cette page, voir GAO-21-484. What GAO Found As of March 31, 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had obligated a combined total of more than $1.2 billion and disbursed about $1 billion for global health security (GHS) activities, using funds appropriated in fiscal years 2015 through 2019. USAID and CDC supported activities to help build countries' capacities in 11 technical areas related to addressing infectious disease threats. The obligated funding supported GHS activities in at least 34 countries, including 25 identified as Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) partner countries. U.S.-Supported Activities in Ethiopia to Strengthen Global Health Security U.S. officials' assessments of 17 GHSA partner countries' capacities to address infectious disease threats showed that at the end of fiscal year 2019, most countries had some capacity in each of the 11 technical areas but faced various challenges. U.S. interagency country teams produce biannual capacity assessments that USAID and CDC headquarters officials use to track the countries' progress. According to fiscal year 2019 assessment reports, 14 countries had developed or demonstrated capacity in most technical areas. In addition, the reports showed the majority of capacities in each country had remained stable or increased since 2016 and 2017. The technical area antimicrobial resistance showed the largest numbers of capacity increases—for example, in the development of surveillance systems. GAO's analysis of the progress reports found the most common challenges to developing GHS capacity were weaknesses in government institutions, constrained resources, and insufficient human capital. According to agency officials, some challenges can be overcome with additional U.S. government funding, technical support, or diplomatic efforts, but many other challenges remain outside the U.S. government's control. This is a public version of a sensitive report that GAO issued in February 2021. Information that USAID and CDC deemed sensitive has been omitted. Why GAO Did This Study The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in December 2019 demonstrated that infectious diseases can lead to catastrophic loss of life and sustained damage to the global economy. USAID and CDC have led U.S. efforts to strengthen GHS—that is, global capacity to prepare for, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats and to reduce or prevent their spread across borders. These efforts include work related to the multilateral GHSA initiative, which aims to accelerate progress toward compliance with international health regulations and other agreements. House Report 114-693 contained a provision for GAO to review the use of GHS funds. In this report, GAO examines, for the 5 fiscal years before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, (1) the status of USAID's and CDC's GHS funding and activities and (2) U.S. agencies' assessments, at the end of fiscal year 2019, of GHSA partner countries' capacities to address infectious disease threats and of challenges these countries faced in building capacity. GAO analyzed agency, interagency, and international organization documents. GAO also interviewed agency officials in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia, and in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Senegal, and Vietnam. GAO selected these four countries on the basis of factors such as the presence of staff from multiple U.S. agencies. In addition, GAO analyzed interagency assessments of countries' capacities to address infectious disease threats in fiscal year 2019 and compared them with baseline assessments from 2016 and 2017. For more information, contact David Gootnick at (202) 512-3149 or gootnickd@gao.gov.
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