(WXYZ) - Another one of Robert Ficano’s former appointees has been indicted.
Zayd Allebban was previously charged in a criminal complaint. Now a federal grand jury has formally indicted Allebban for obstruction of justice, and they’ve added three new charges of falsifying documents.
Federal prosecutors allege the county’s Director of Enterprise Application falsified the documents to hide a bribery scheme that involved Allebban’s supervisor in the IT department, Tahir Kazmi. The two are also friends.
Last week, Kazmi pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, and as part of his plea deal, Kazmi will be cooperating and testifying as part of the FBI’s probe in Wayne County government.
The indictment alleges that Allebban conspired with Kazmi to obstruct justice when they tried to get a private contractor to lie to FBI agents.
They also allegedly wanted the contractor to lie to the grand jury that’s investigating corruption in Ficano’s administration.
Kazmi admitted in court that the contractor was Phil Shisha, the owner of Strategic Business Partners, which received multi-million dollar IT contracts from the county.
The indictment charges that as part of his crime, the 33-year-old Allebban delivered $24,000 in cash to try to get the contractor to keep quiet. Federal prosecutors say Allebban also created false documents to cover up the bribe payments made to Kazmi. Allebban is facing up to 20 years in prison if he’s convicted.
Wednesday a spokesperson for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano issued a statement saying, "This is not unexpected since he was named in the federal complaint last February along with Tahir Kazmi. We’ve cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and this takes us one step closer to putting this behind us.”
Allebban's attorney Haytham Faraj told 7 Action News that his client is not guilty. He also says Allebban has been cooperating, "...and, in fact, turned over his entire personal email account and gave them his password."
"He cooperated as much as he can and told them everything he knows," says Faraj. "Unfortunately, they wanted him to plead guilty to one count of obstruction and when he didn't, they got an indictment for conspiracy..."says Faraj, as well as added the other charges.
Allebban is scheduled to be in U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon.
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