SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Deloitte & Touche frightened an employee so badly he suffered a stroke after he warned it that a ranking Afghan official felt it was defrauding the Afghan and U.S. governments, the man claims in court.
Nazir Khalji, a U.S. citizen, sued Deloitte and its Afghanistan chief Gareth Davies in Federal Court. His claims of defamation, assault and wrongful firing stem from events he claims happened last year while he worked for Deloitte in Kabul.
Khalji claims that while he was trying to get a ministerial job in the Afghan government, Deloitte hired him to work on an economic rebuilding project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Under the USAID contract, Khalji was to be a tax policy adviser reporting directly to Afghanistan's deputy finance minister and to defendant Davies, according to the complaint.
The USAID contract called for Khalji to work on a value-added tax and software for the finance ministry, but Davies told him to ignore the contractual duties and "just use his influence and relationship to get the deputy minister to sign a USAID work plan," Khalji says in the lawsuit.
"To carry out this requirement by Davies on behalf of Deloitte, Davies ordered Khalji to present the plan to the deputy minister, who said that he was not going to approve or sign the plan because it did not help Afghanistan and that it was just bringing money to Americans, namely Deloitte," the complaint states.
Khalji claims Davies pressed him to return to the deputy minister several times for a signature. The minister eventually signed under protest and Khalji turned his focus to implementing the VAT tax, according to the complaint.
He claims he discovered - contrary to what Deloitte and Davies had told USAID and the deputy minister - that the VAT program was only 20 percent complete and would not be rolled out by its deadline.
Meanwhile, the tax software project had transparency issues and was only one-uarter finished, Khaji says, adding that he prepared a report documenting the problems and submitted it to Davies.
"A three-ring circus developed between Davies, Khalji and the deputy minister," Khalji says in the complaint. "Khalji prepared this report in an honest and forthright fashion in compliance with the USAID statement of work. He then presented this report to Davies, who made changes and returned the report to Khalji several times. The deputy minister was asking Khalji where the report was and requesting that he provide it to him as required by the USAID statement of work. Davies was communicating with the deputy minister as well and while he had forbidden Khalji to give the report to the minister he was talking out of the other side of his mouth and telling the minister words to the effect of 'I don't know why Mr. Khalji has failed to give you the report.' This three-ring circus continued throughout February 2013. Davies played and continued to play an intentional and malicious manipulative double-sided game between Khalji and the deputy minister."
Khalji claims Davies' game became threatening after the deputy minister pressured Khalji into giving up the report. But that meeting never happened, Khalji claims, and he returned to his security vehicle to find a Deloitte security detail waiting for him.