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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Nigeria: Halliburton - C'ttee Names Culprits August-



Abuja — The high powered security investigative committee set up by the Federal Government to probe the Halliburton bribery scandal is expected to submit its report, including a detailed list of top ranking government officials involved in the scandal, sometime next month.

The committee which was inaugurated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Michael Aondoakaa in April this year and given 8 weeks to submit its reports had its life span extended by an additional 8 weeks.

A source close to the committee said "The committee was earlier given 8 weeks to investigate the matter but government had to add 8 more weeks to it to be able to investigate conveniently. The committee which would have submitted the names of the bribe takers last month (June) will now do so in August."

The committee which has the Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro as Chairman comprises Farida Waziri, chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), representative of National Security Adviser, representative of Director-General (DG), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and representative of DG, State Security Service (SSS).

The engineering subsidiary of Halliburton Co., Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) Inc. of the United States, had pleaded guilty to five federal charges that it paid $180 million as bribes to Nigerian officials in respect of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contracts. The bribes were allegedly offered between 1995 when the nearly $7 billion contract was awarded and 2004, and possibly beyond.

Aondoakaa said while inaugurating the committee that the government would not protect anybody found wanting in the Halliburton scandal from being punished.

The people quizzed by the committee in connection to the alleged scandal included a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal A. D. Bello, a former federal Permanent Secretary Ibrahim Aliyu and a former Inspector General of Police M. D. Yusufu. Others are the former Director-General of the defunct National Security Organisation, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, a former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Don Etiebet as well as former Group Managing Directors of the NigeriaNational Petroleum Corporation Mr. Funsho Kupolokun and Gauis Obaseki. The committee has also investigated some of the aides of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulkadir Abacha and a son of the Emir of Kano all in connection with the matter. Former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and former President Obasanjo, who were in power during the bribe sharing period, have not been investigated.

The committee has pledged to intimate the INTERPOL about the culprits and seize the travel documents of those involved. The committee had also indicated interest to travel abroad and obtain documents which could be used as evidence in prosecuting the bribe takers. The Federal Government had approved N45 million for the committee to investigate the matter. Part of the money will be used by the committee to travel to USA, France and Switzerland and obtain further evidence.

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