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HALLIBURTON: OBASANJO'S EX-AIDE DOCKED

By NBF News
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Halliburton
Nigerians, who trooped to the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to witness the much publicised trial in the $180 million Halliburton bribery scandal yesterday, left the court disappointed  as only one person, out of several other suspects, was brought to court.

They were further infuriated with the court for granting bail to former Special Assistant to ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo, Adeyanju Bodunde, shortly after his arraignment on very liberal terms.

Specifically, Bodunde, who was arraigned on a six-count charge by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, was granted bail to the sum of N1 million and a surety in the like sum.

The court said the surety must be a respectable Nigerian citizen, who must swear to an affidavit of means. Some of the charges against Bodunde according to the prosecution counsel, Mr. Godwin Obla reads; *That you, Adeyanju Bodunde, sometime between 2002 and 2003, within the jurisdiction of this court, did accept cash payment in the sum of USD 1, 000,000.00 from one George Mark and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 and 15 [d] of the Money Laundering Act, 2004 and punishable under section 15 [2] pf the Money Laundering Act, 2004.

*That you, Adeyanju Bodunde, sometime between 2002 and 2003, within the jurisdiction of this court did accept cash payment in the sum of USD 1, 000,000.00 from one George Mark and thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 1 and 15 [d] of the money Laundering Act, 2004 and punishable under section 15 [2] of the Money Laundering Act, 2004.

*That you, Adeyanju Bodunde sometime between 2002 and 2003, within the jurisdiction of this court did accept cash payment in the sum of N140,000,000.00 from one George Mark and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 and 15 [d] of the Money Laundering Act, 2004 and punishable under section 15 [2] of the Money Laundering Act, 2004.

*That you, Adeyanju Bodunde sometime between 2002 and 2003, within the jurisdiction of this court did accept cash payment in the sum of $500.00 from Hans George Christ and thereby committed an offence contrary to section1 and 15 [d] of the Money Laundering Act, 2004 and punishable under section 15 [2] of the Money Laundering Act, 2004.

The accused who pleaded not guilty to all the charges was admitted to bail  by Justice Adamu Bello who agreed with his lawyer that the offences were ordinarily bailable in nature.

Justice Bello ruled that the provisions of the Money Laundering Act, upon which the accused person was standing trial prescribed a jail term of two years and a fine of N250,000 upon conviction. The  Federal Government had earlier withdrawn  charges against construction giant, Julius Berger Plc., on the alleged complicity in the $180 million Halliburton bribery scandal based on a mutual agreement between it and the firm. However, the Federal Government intends to file a civil action against Halliburton Corporation in the United States to seek compensation and restitution within the next 14 days.

Adoke, who announced the withdrawal  in Abuja said the decision was based on the request by the prosecution team that charges against the company be withdrawn. He explained that Julius Berger had entered into an agreement with the Federal Government 'on the basis of no admission of liability, culpability of guilt.'

Under the said agreement, which the Minister said was subject to confidentiality protections, Julius Berger 'will institute a scheme of corporate compliance monitoring to improve and strengthen its internal contracts and mechanisms for a period of two years.

Other terms of the agreement are that the company 'will publicly affirm and restate its commitment to the dictates of good corporate citizenship through advertorial messages in electronic and print media at national coverage.

The firm has also agreed to make an ex-gratia payment to the Federal Government.