Ex-FEMA Officials Arrested for Corruption, Bribery in Puerto Rico Probe

‘Their political system is broken and their politicians are either incompetent or corrupt…’

Federal Authorities Arrest Former FEMA Officials On Corruption, Bribery Charges

FEMA officials assist during a hurricane. / IMAGE: Fox 4 Now via Youtube

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Federal authorities have arrested former Federal Emergency Management Authority officials for bribery, fraud, and corruption in the handling of Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico, the former president of Cobra Acquisitions bribed FEMA officials with a helicopter, hotel accommodations, airfare, personal security services and a credit card. As a result, FEMA officials awarded exclusive contracts to Cobra.

For example, FEMA awarded Cobra an $1.8 billion contract to restore electric power to the island after Hurricane Maria—shortly after Cobra hired Ahsha Nateef Tribble, FEMA’s deputy regional director who was in charge of restoring electricity to the island.

Tribble also used her influence to encourage power authority officials to use Cobra’s services rather than their own workforce. “She even told them that if they did not use Cobra, FEMA would not reimburse them,” prosecutors said.

“These defendants were supposed to come to Puerto Rico to help during the recovery after the devastation suffered from Hurricane Maria,” U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez said. “Instead, they decided to take advantage of the precarious conditions of our electric power grid and engaged in a bribery and honest services wire fraud scheme in order to enrich themselves illegally.”

President Donald Trump has frequently criticized Puerto Rico for its massive failure in the fall out of Hurricane Maria.

Last month, he called the island “one of the most corrupt places on earth.”

Trump was criticized for failing to provide enough federal funding for the island’s recovery, but he refused to budge because of the island’s repetitive fiscal mismanagement.

“Their political system is broken and their politicians are either incompetent or corrupt,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that billions of dollars in previous aid had gone to “crooks pols. No good!”