Home World News $140m Seized Halliburton Bribe in US custody

$140m Seized Halliburton Bribe in US custody



??????? Asks Buhari to reopen probe

President Muhammadu Buhari has kick-started his administration?s much-anticipated war on corruption by reopening the Halliburton bribery scandal, the Daily Times has learnt.

The reopening, it was further learnt, follows the decision of the United States government to shelve the release of about $140 million seized from some indicted persons and companies over the scandal until Nigeria shows seriousness in the probe.Authoritative sources told Daily Times that President Buhari has directed security agencies to re-visit the case and recommend the next line of action.??Following this development, President Buhari has directed the investigation committee made up of representatives of all security agencies to dust off the file and complete the investigations and charge those indicted to court,? the source said.The case was investigated four years ago by a security panel headed by retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Ahmadu Ali, who charged a personal aide to a former president to court.The case was, however, thrown out by the court due to lack of diligent prosecution.

An American citizen, Jeffry Tesler, was sentenced to 21 months in prison by a US court for being the middle-man who helped Halliburton pay bribe to Nigerian officials to secure contract for the final phase of the National Liquefied Natural Gas project. He also forfeited $148.964 million from his Swiss accounts to the United States government, and has served out his prison sentence.

A report on the Halliburton bribery scandal by the US government had indicted three former Nigerian leaders, a former vice president, a minister, some intelligence chiefs and a few corporate entities as beneficiaries of the bribes.One of the companies later opted for plea bargaining and paid the sum of $25 million to the government.The security source told Daily Times at the weekend: ?The case file will soon be reopened and all those who were invited during the investigation will soon appear again.?Penultimate week, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers made Halliburton to stop its operations in Nigeria because of its decision to sack Nigerian employees.Buhari has also issued a stern warning to civil servants to steer clear of monetary claims by government contractors for now.The Head of Service of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Danladi Kifasi, who addressed the press in Abuja, at the weekend, directed heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs not to abdicate their core functions to ministers who are political appointees but to do their jobs in strict compliance with the policy guidelines of the administration.This followed a reported clash between permanent secretaries and ministers of major federal ministries of the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan over the payment of contractors.

Daily Times gathered that most permanent secretaries and directors of accounts in the ministries and MDAs fell out with many of the immediate past ministers following their refusal to pay contractors favoured by them for jobs approved and awarded through the backdoor by the ministers in their last effort to make quick money out of the system.

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