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Bribery Scandal: Siemens to pay Nigeria N7 billion in damages

Goodluck Jonathan
Goodluck Jonathan
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Siemens, German's Telecom giant, has agreed to pay 30.5 Million Euro (about N7 Billion) to the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of a plea bargain deal arranged for the telecommunication company to avoid prosecution for bribing Nigerian officials in what is regarded as the biggest corporate scandal, can report authoritatively.

They are expected to pay the fine and sign relevant documents on Friday.

This is even as Ibrahim Aliyu, a former permanent Secretary accused of collecting about $7.7 Million Halliburton bribe has approached the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF , with plans of repaying the bribe he received from Halliburton between 1998 and 2005.

The German company had agreed in late 2008 to pay $1.3 billion in penalties to U.S. and German authorities, who accused the firm and three subsidiaries of paying thousands of dollars in bribes to federal officials in several nations, including Nigeria, from 2001 to 2007.

Sources privy to the deal told that part of the deal includes that Siemens would sign an undertaken to be of good corporate behavior and would be closely monitored by a committee to be set up by the Federal Government.

The accused persons are, Siemens AG, Siemens Limited; Eduard Seidel (at large); Klaus-Peter Gilbert (at large); Waclaw Lukowicz (at large); Maigada Shuabu, former executive director, Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN); Mahmood Sadiq Mohammed, former permanent secretary, ministry of power/steel; Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Ossai, former general manager, finance, NITEL; and Edwin Moore Momife, former managing director, MTEL. sources hinted that Attorney General's office had vigorously pursued the case against Siemens and had vowed that it would stop at nothing to ensure that the German firm is brought to book.

Sensing that the Nigerian Government was bent on prosecuting Siemens, officials of the German company were said to have swiftly approached the AG's office for a plea bargain and agreed to pay the N7 Billion with a condition that the company will maintain good corporate behavior henceforth.

According to a source, “the AG was really bent on ensuring that those who rob Nigeria are punished and if they had not agreed to the condition and payment of the fine, they would have been prosecuted immediately because government was really bent on concluding the case once and for all.”

The Siemens bribery scandal broke open when a Munich court ruling in October 2007 said Siemens paid bribes to officials in Nigeria and two other countries between 2001 and 2004 as it sought lucrative telecommunications-equipment contracts.

The ruling named four former Nigerian telecommunications ministers, as well as other officials in Nigeria, Libya and Russia, as recipients of 77 bribes totaling EUR12 million, or about $17.6 million.

Siemens accepted responsibility for misconduct and agreed to pay a EUR201 million fine decreed by the Munich court.

Meanwhile, one of the Halliburton bribe takers have offered to make restitution by returning the money he collected from the American oil giant between 1998 and 2005.

Ibrahim Aliyu, a former Permanent Secretary, source informed approached the Federal Government and pleaded to be allowed time to make the payment of $7.7 Million back into the federal coffers to avoid prosecution.

Aliyu, an elder brother to the Niger State Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Police Affairs and Industry. He was also Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank between 1980 and early 1990's.

He also chaired the Presidential Implementation Committee, PIMCO, during the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

The court papers which indicted Aliyu for collecting bribe from Halliburton reads: "That you, Ibrahim Aliyu, sometime between 1998 and 2005 in Abuja while being a public officer (then Chairman, Programme Implementation Committee of the Federal Government of Nigeria concerned with the proceeding or business of award of contracts for Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Project) accepted several payments of money in tranches totaling US$7.7million without consideration through companies under your control to wit: Urban Shelter Limited and Intercellular Nigeria Limited from one Jeffrey Tesler (now at large), AVM Abdullahi Dominic Bello; Tri-Star Investment Limited; TSKJ Nigeria limited and (a) Technip S.A.; (b)Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. (c) Kellog Brown and Root Inc (d) Japan Gasoline Corporation of Japan(all jointly trading in the name and style of TSKJ Joint Venture) persons you know are interested or related to persons interested in the award of contracts for Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Project and thereby committed an offence under Section 119 of the Penal Code CAP 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

"That you, Ibrahim Aliyu, dishonestly received several payments of money in tranches totalling in the aggregate $7.7million not due to you through companies under your control thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 122 of the Penal Code CAP 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.