Nigeria charges Cheney in Halliburton bribery scandal

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

Nigeria charges Cheney in Halliburton bribery scandal.

 

Nigerian authorities filed charges Tuesday against ex-US vice president Dick Cheney and several others over a bribery scandal allegedly involving energy firm Halliburton, the prosecutor said.

“It includes Dick Cheney,” said prosecutor Godwin Obla of the 16-count charge filed at a court in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

“There are conspiracy charges and giving gratification to public officers. There is also a charge for obstruction of justice.”

A spokesman for the country’s anti-graft agency confirmed the charges had been filed against nine suspects, including Cheney, who was head of Halliburton before becoming vice president after the US elections in 2000.

The case involves an alleged $US182 million ($184.2 million) cash-for-contract scandal over 10 years until 2005 over construction of a liquified natural gas plant in southern Nigeria.

Halliburton has denied involvement in the allegations, and a spokesman for Cheney has dismissed the accusations against him as baseless.

Halliburton Inc. was also included in the charges, as was Halliburton’s former subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), according to a statement from Obla.

The consortium involved in the gas plant, TSKJ, was also included.

The statement said the move was in line with Nigeria’s commitment to “bring to justice all the participants in the criminal enterprise associated with the bribe for contract arrangement associated with the Bonny LNG payments and spanning over a long period of time.”

“Names, positions, office or geography would have no bearing or effect whatsoever on the decisions of the prosecution as it relates to the prosecution of this matter.”

US authorities said last year that Halliburton and KBR had agreed to pay $US177 million to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States over the scandal.

KBR agreed to pay a further $US402 million to settle criminal charges brought by the US Justice Department.

Companies in the TSKJ consortium involved in the plant included France’s Technip, Snamprogetti (formerly a subsidiary of a company owned by Italy’s Eni), Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), and Japan’s JGC.

“It is important to stress that the filing of this charge today is just one out of many steps that would be taken by the prosecution,” the statement from the prosecutor said.

“The illicit proceeds of that enterprise would be located. Properties acquired in consequence of this would be traced and forfeited and organisations associated with the criminal enterprise may be liable to forfeiture to the state of Nigeria.”

Last week, Nigerian anti-corruption authorities summoned a top local official from Halliburton as part of the investigation.

Authorities also raided Halliburton’s office in Lagos recently and detained 10 people — eight Nigerians and two expatriates — who have since been released as investigations continue. Documents were taken as well.

Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers, but corruption remains deeply entrenched. Non-governmental organisations consistently rank the country as one of the world’s most graft-ridden.

The charges also come ahead of presidential elections in April.

AFP

Category: State of the Nation

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