Monday, February 9, 2009

In 2003, it was revealed that Kellogg Brown & Root, a company eventually acquired by international conglomerate Halliburton, gave approximately $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials. These bribes were an attempt to obtain a lucrative contract to develop Nigeria's liquefied natural gas project. After 6 years of legal wrangling, Halliburton has finally admitted guilt and agreed to pay $492 million dollars in fines to the United States government for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.


This is not the first, or second or third foreign company to be fined or have its employees punished by foreign governments for committing crimes in Nigeria. In 2007, German conglomerate, Siemens AG, was declared guilty of paying bribes to Nigerian officials. At that time, President Yar'Adua (who was then new to Aso Rock, Nigeria's seat of Presidential power) "ordered" the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) to investigate the matter. However, till this day, the ICPC is yet to bring any of Siemen's corrupt employees or Nigeria's guilty officials to justice. And, a keyword search on the ICPC website (as of February 9th, 2009) does not pull up any Halliburton-related information.

This reality calls into question whether or not the Nigerian government will indeed prosecute, fine and/or punish all individuals involved in what is clearly an open and shut corruption case with regard to Halliburton. Although, in October 2008, a spokesman for Nigeria's Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asserted that the corruption 'watchdog' was looking into the matter, there is yet to be any direct comment from the Commission or the President's office on this recent Halliburton settlement in the U.S.

This, unfortunately, does nothing to convince observers that Nigeria is indeed tough on corruption, despite the promises of President Yar'Adua to the contrary. Instead, it raises concerns over the EFCC's new leadership and its commitment to an anti-corruption campaign that in the minds of many Nigerians has stalled at best and is none existent at the worst. Now is an appropriate for the office of the Presidency to recommit itself to battling corruption, especially when the hardwork has already been done. The overwhelming evidence that the Nigerian government needs can be accessed from its ally, the United States.

By bringing every individual proven to be guilty in this Halliburton case to justice, with no opportunity to use 'plea bargain justice' as a means of escaping punishment, this administration and the EFCC could widen the trail in Nigeria's war against corruption. A trail that would be a crucial precedent for future attempts to punish corruption as a way of stifling its choke hold on Nigeria and Nigerians. Nigeria does not have the luxury of not taking a hard stance on corruption,despite the current economic squeeze and what must be a heavy workload for the nation's anti corruption agencies. This is especially the case given Nigeria's goals of achieving certain development standards by 2020. The strong direction of Nigeria's president will be needed to get the country back on its anti-corruption track and convince the masses that indeed, corruption will soon be a thing of the past.

Related Articles of Interest:
- (Halliburton) Nigeria's Punishment Problem
- Siemens & Nigeria - Corruption Inc.
- Corruption: The Common Denominator To All Our Problems

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N.I.M.M.O said...

According to Zebrudaya (Alias 4.30) 'If there is a giver, there must be a givee'.

If Halliburton gave $180 million as bribes in Nigeria, who received it? For what purposes? Under what circumstances?

Maybe we should ask Halliburton who were their accomplices and then arrest them. Or just simply collect the money back.


@ N.I.M.M.O.: Zebrudaya definitely had a way with words. lol!

My broda, the bribery and corruption was straight forward. EFCC knew in 2004 who were the recipients of that $180 million. Most of the info is out there. If I took the time to dig, I could pull at least 1 if not more names.

People forget that this is the age of the internet and that countries like America actually do have a Freedom of Information Act that makes most documents, including the legal ones associated with this Halliburton case, accessible to all.

I likely just need to do a good legal search and I'll be able to pull up more facts.

Nigeria can go ahead and do what it has done before, 'forgive' the culprits. I just want the country to get its cut. Halliburton needs to poney up and the Nigerian officials involved need to as well.

Anyway, hope all is well.

Avartsy said...

'Looking into the matter,' is how the case will remain for a long time to come. I don't know how feasible 2020 is for any kind of development in Nigeria more especially so with this crop of politicians that we have. In Nigerian politics, one thing is being said to the face of the public and behind closed doors, it's another story entirely. I highly doubt that there will be a satisfactory result in this case where the corrupt Nigerian officials are concerned...I don't know why I'm so cynical about Nigerian politics, but oh wait...maybe it's because we don't have such a good history re: politics...

This one na wait and see...abi?

Anonymous said...

With all these resources, we should really be looking at encouraging African investment in Africa. The South Africans are wonderful at this.

The irony of it is that it is the vilified White African who is having enough faith in Africa to sink his fortune into our charge into the 21st Century.

We certainly don't need to rely on the Western sharks, corrupters of our leaders to achieve nirvana.

I suggest that each African country has a BEE type law that sets aside certain contracts and investment opportunities exclusively for African in investors, with an AU Fair Trade Office to receive complaints of corruption.

This office should have the powers to charge the offenders. I dont see the any African country today refusing this.

Sugabelly said...

I've said it a thousand times. People need to stop believing anything Yardy says. I'm waiting for the next election.

Jinta said...

hardly any foreign country does business in nigeria without paying bribes. why do you think the chinese and indian companies have become successful in nigeria?

how about julius berger?

sahara reporters have it that yardy takes 10 cents from every barrel of oil that leaves nigeria, as minister of petroleum. no wonder andy uba acquired so much as special adviser to the erstwhile minister - obasanjo.

Jinta said...

sorry, that was meant to read 8 cents. but, 8 cents x 2 million barrels per day adds up to a tidy sum

Anonymous said...

what is done is done; haliburton made a lot of money from Nigeria; in any case have you heard ibm is asking laid off workers to take up jobs in Nigeria? it is amazing;


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To those that do not get it and claim Africa is poor and need charity, this is a wake up! It is corruption facilitated by governments that is killing people in Africa. Sahara Reporters have been screeming about this forever. Those endless US trips without anything to show but a lot of dollar bills the freezer. Sadly, it is STILL on going!

Anya Posh said...

what a gibbering bunch of hypocrites these so-called Nigerian Government Officials. Truth be told, doing business in Nigeria is nearly impossible. You basically have to pay your way through everything. This is the same way in Russia or Kazakhstan (resource-rich countries). It is rather unfortunate because the UNDP has noticed that contrary to popular belief, foreign development aid doesn't help countries achieve sustainable development. Only Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been shown to bring about substantial change. So the fact that Nigerians are limiting their own development potential by making it difficult for foreign companies to do business in the country baffles me.

myabubakar said...

pls solo dig all the names. this is a worthwhile effort, identify those who received the bribe from halliburton. Its high time we knew who they are


@ Myabubakar: I am trying but a lot of those names are actually sealed. I have listed the names of those involved in the Siemens scandal here.

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