Saturday, 13 February 2016

EFCC reopens Halliburton bribery case

Senior Nigerian lawyer quizzed, 5 other SANs for probe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has reopened investigation into the unresolved but famous Halliburton bribery case which saw a foreign consortium of companies bribing Nigerian officials with over $180million to win contracts to build the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas plant.

On Thursday, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Damian Dodo, was quizzed for eight hours by a new panel of operatives detailed to get to the root of the bribery scam.

The Halliburton scam concerned the alleged payment of over $180 million to senior Nigerian officials, including, allegedly, past heads of states, by officials of an American firm, Halliburton, to secure a construction contract for a liquefied natural gas plant in Bonny Island in the Niger Delta.

Although several foreigners involved in the matter have been prosecuted in their home countries, Nigerian authorities have failed to prosecute the country’s citizens involved in the matter.

However, reports say current president, Muhammadu Buhari, has asked the EFCC to restart investigation into the matter.

Sources close to the fresh investigation on Friday said Mr. Dodo was questioned for his role in an alleged receipt of $26million from Halliburton, along with a former minister and five other Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

Specifically, Mr. Dodo allegedly received $4.5million through his firm, DD Dodo and Co. from multinational companies involved in the deal, purportedly as legal fees.

He was also alleged to have withdrawn over $2million cash for purposes investigators believe are unclear, and in flagrant violation of Nigeria’s extant money laundering regulations.

In the US, Halliburton and its former subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), entered a guilty plea and agreed to pay $579 million fine, the largest corruption settlement ever paid by a US company in high-level bribery cases involving payments from multinationals to secure contracts in Nigeria and other countries.

But in Nigeria, senior government officials who allegedly received over $180million bribe are yet to be charged to court.