DETROIT (WWJ) In yet another scandal to rock Wayne County government, the county’s chief information officer has been charged with extortion and obstruction of justice related to the federal government’s investigation into possible corruption.
The U.S. Attorney also brought obstruction charges against the county’s director of Enterprise Application.
Investigators say Tahir Kazmi and Zayd Allegan allegedly pressured a county vendor to lie to FBI agents and manufacture evidence to impede the corruption investigation. This comes while the FBI investigates County Executive Robert Ficano over a $200,000 severance payout to a former employee.
In this case, Tahir Kazmi, 52, of Rochester Hills, and Zayd Alleban, 33, of Dearborn, are both accused of obstructing justice by pressuring a county vendor to lie to FBI agents and manufacture evidence to impede the FBI’s investigation into possible corruption in Wayne County government. Click here to read the complaint.
Kazmi, who is currently off on leave, has been CIO of the County since 2008. Alleban is employed as the County’s Director of Enterprise Operations in Kazmi’s department. Kazmi is also charged with extorting the vendor by demanding items of value, such as cash and expensive trips, in return for County contracts. He is also charged with accepting bribes from the vendor to gain his influence in the granting of County contracts.
On February 9, agents of the FBI and IRS executed a search warrant on Kazmi’s Rochester Hills home. The search warrant targeted Wayne County contracts, and any documents, in whatever form, belonging to Wayne County or taken from Wayne County. It also sought any and all records and communications relating to bribery, kickbacks and extortion involving Wayne County government. Complaint and arrest warrants were executed today.
“We are turning over every stone in this case, and anyone who tampers with our investigation will be charged with obstruction of justice,” McQuade said. “We hope that these charges will encourage others to come forward and assist us in our investigation rather than impede it. The citizens of Wayne County are entitled to a thorough investigation to ensure that they are receiving the honest government they deserve.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Arena stated, “As this investigation continues to unfold it is imperative that anyone with knowledge of potential illegal activity within Wayne Co. government come forward immediately. In addition, anyone who knowingly acts to obstruct justice in this case will be found and prosecuted. As always, assistance and cooperation from citizens and employees of Wayne Co. remains a key part of the investigation.”
IRS Special Agent in Charge Martinez stated, “Following the money trail is crucial to uncovering all of the facts in this investigation. The taxpayers of Wayne County deserve public officials who are honest and not lured by greed,”
A complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. Trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint. When the investigation is completed, a determination will be made whether to seek a felony indictment.”
Stay with CBSDetroit and WWJ Newsradio 950 for more on this developing story.