Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nigeria: Halliburton - EFCC to Charge Ex-U.S. VP, Cheney

Daily Independent (Lagos)
Alexandra Mede And Adeola Yusuf
2 December 2010

Abuja/Lagos — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed on Thursday that it is preparing charges against former Unites States Vice president, Dick Cheney, in connection with the $180 million bribery scandal allegedly involving Halliburton.

EFCC Spokesman Femi Babafemi confirmed the plan and said the charges will reflect the role Cheney allegedly played in the scam when he was Halliburton Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) between 1995 and 2000.

The charges will be ready early next week, and are connected with the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in Bonny, Rivers State, Babafemi added.

Earlier this week, the EFCC summoned top local officials from Halliburton as part of the investigations.
The summons came a few days after the EFCC raided the Halliburton office in Lagos, arrested 11 officials, and carted away documents.

The EFCC also raided Shell's office in Lagos in a separate investigation of a $240 million bribery scandal, arresting its executive who was to be questioned over recent cases settled in the U.S. involving Panalpina World Transport.

The executives of the two companies are still held in EFCC custody.
The allegations involved alleged bribery in a range of countries, including Nigeria.
Shell agreed to pay some $48 million as part of the settlements.

Asked whether Cheney would be charged over the Halliburton scam, Babafemi said, "It's true ... definitely."

Cheney served as Halliburton CEO before becoming Vice President under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009.

Cheney was one of America's most powerful and controversial Vice Presidents, as well as a driving force behind Bush's "war on terror."

He has struggled with a series of health problems related to heart ailments.

The Halliburton case involves an alleged cash-for-contract scandal spanning 10 years until 2005 over construction of the gas plant.

Halliburton has denied involvement in the allegations.

However, the American authorities said last year that the company and its former subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), had agreed to pay $579 million in fines related to the case.
It was one of the biggest fines ever paid by a U.S. company in a foreign corruption case.

In October, an aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo was charged to court in Abuja in a probe linked to the scam.

Babafemi said the case is likely to be amended to include Cheney and others.
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 corrupt.
The EFCC was established in 2004 to probe corruption allegations and has carried out a series of high-profile prosecutions.  View the original article here

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