POGO filed a suit against the oil companies based on this fact, which resulted into the oil companies making a settlement of $440 million to the United States.
POGO thereof honored its agreement with Berman and Berman received a check of $383,600, which on the face side of the the check indicated that it is a public service award to Berman for working for the government. It is on this basis the United States government filed a suit against Berman stating that Berman had violated section 209(a) by using his office for private gain since he had accepted the amount from POGO, which is a private entity. This led to his removal from office.
Berman appealed the judgment passed, but to no gain. This is because the jury based his ruling on the fact that Berman did not consult any ethics official in the agency for advice before entering into the agreement. His agreement with POGO clearly showed that he intended to use his office for private gain. This showed how reckless Berman was in performing his duties.
This case seeks to show how important it is for employees to observe the highest levels of ethical conduct. As evident in this case, despite Bermans 26 years of service in the government and having no record of crime earlier, it was not sufficient to prevent him from losing his job. Therefore, it is important that employees observe appropriate ethical behaviors while at work.
This case seeks to show how important it is for the state also to be efficient enough in its duties. It shows that the state was not doing enough to curb fraud in the United States. Such fraud should be exposed at an early stage to avoid wrongful decision-making by the state.
POGO argued that oil companies had committed fraud since they had undervalued the oil they got from the federal lands. hence, formulating undervalued reports and making undervalued payments to the state in terms of royalties.