Camera Cops Face Bribery Charges
News for Public Officials
Two high-ranking police officers in Edmonton Canada face charges of accepting bribes from red light camera supplier Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). The charges allege Staff Sgt. Kerry Nisbet, 51, and Detective Thomas Bell, 49 accepted bribes from the Dallas based company to recommend the company’s system for a 20-year photo radar and red light camera contract worth $90 million.
The allegations are Bell and Nisbet received unauthorized perks, including free travel, from Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a red light camera and photo radar firm they touted to city council as the only one able to do the job.
The charges stem from a 19-month Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation. The preliminary hearing which began Tuesday will determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. The Canadian government will call twenty nine witnesses against the officers during the hearing which is estimated to take four weeks.
If convicted, the officers could face maximum sentences of 5 years on each charge of breach of trust and accepting a bribe. Nisbet, who was head of the traffic unit, and Bell, who last worked in the Integrated Response to Organized Crime unit, also face possible internal discipline. Both officers remain suspended without pay.
ACS is also charged with offering bribes to the police officers. A preliminary hearing for those charges is scheduled for September 1, 2007. In addition, the company is entangled in a stock options backdating scheme under investigation by U.S. authorities.
The troubled company provides information technology to government agencies worldwide. It is one of more than 100 companies being investigated for past stock options grants that might have been backdated to generate higher returns for executives. In November ACS forced out its CEO and chief financial officer and terminated their severance agreements after an internal investigation revealed the backdating of options to favorable dates.
ACS is currently considering a buyout offer of $62 per share, or about $6.2 billion, from founder and Chairman Darwin Deason and private equity fund Cerberus Capital Management LP.
The City of Edmonton suspended the suspect contract pending the police bribery investigation. Currently the city has a month-to-month contract with ACS while councilors determine how they plan to run the controversial photo radar and red-light camera program in the future.
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