$26m bribe: CACOL petitions PAC to probe Adoke

Mohammed Adoke Bello

Former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke Bello: writes about his years as attorney-general of the Federation

Kazeem Ugbodaga

Former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke Bello
Former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke Bello

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has petitioned the Presidential Advisory Committee, on Anti-Corruption, PAC, to urgently investigate the $26m bribe allegation against the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke in the Siemens, Halliburton bribery scandal settlement deals.

In the petition dated 2 September, 2015 and addressed to the Chairman of PAC on Anti-Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, Executive Chairman, CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran drew the attention of the committee to many of its petitions against corrupt leaders that were gathering dust in the anti-corruption agencies’ offices, and were yet to receive the expected attention.

“Whatever the situation is, the Commissions have no excuse that is tenable to us and Nigerians, why our petitions on the above mentioned have not received attention to date. We hope you will take the necessary steps to ensure that the subject of our petition is probed for his suspected corrupt dealings, and corruption perpetrated under his watch,” he said.

Adeniran called on the Committee to urgently and in the national interest investigate the allegations that the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke, coordinated a bribery scheme that extorted about $26 million USD from about 10 multinational companies involved in the Siemens and Halliburton bribery scandals in the last quarter of 2010.

He said this amount was believed to have been collected under the official cover of making the accused multinational companies pay the legal fees of prosecution counsel, even though the accused were never prosecuted in any court of the land to warrant such unethical secret levy.

According to him, while the EFCC, ICPC, and the then Attorney General had listed various sums of money amounting to about $240 million as funds recovered in fines and penalties from these multinational companies, no one had dared mention the $26 million that was secretly extorted from these companies, and who the beneficiaries were.

Adeniran stated that some of the multinational companies were alleged to have been forced to pay various sums as fines and bribes under the cover of paying for prosecution’s legal fees, include Julius Berger, Snamprogetti, Halliburton, Technipp, Shell, Siemens, Saipem, Japanese Gas Corporation, Transocean and Noble Drill.

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“While we have been able to get information that Julius Berger alone coughed out $26 million USD in fines and another $3 million USD as bribe, we call upon your committee to investigate these cases as the ICPC and EFCC are the agencies that investigated these cases, and indeed filed charges against all the accused before they were withdrawn after some secret terms of settlement were forced on the multinational companies by the then Attorney General.

“As a matter of urgency, we urge your committee to investigate how much each of the accused paid as ‘legal fees’, and how these monies were shared. We also request you to establish through your investigation whether it is the practice for the accused in criminal cases to bear the cost of their own prosecution even though in these cases, no prosecution took place.

“We urge you to also file appropriate charges against anyone found to have abused his office in this matter at the end of investigation,” Adeniran stated.

On 22 November, 2010, Siemens reportedly reached a settlement agreement with the federal government under which Siemens would pay N7 billion (approx. $46.5 million) to the Nigerian Government in exchange for the EFCC dropping charges against Siemens AG, Siemens Nig Ltd and four of its officials. The settlement payment was variously described as ‘restitution’ and ‘disgorgement’.

In connection with the TSKJ / Bonny Island bribery matter, on 25 November, 2010, it was reported that the EFCC arrested 10 Halliburton employees in Nigeria during a raid of the offices of Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited in Lagos, as well as one employee each from Saipem Contracting Nigeria and Technip Offshore Nigeria.

On 7 December, 2010, the EFCC reportedly filed corruption charges against Halliburton, former U.S. Vice President, Dick Cheney (who was the CEO of Halliburton during the period at issue), Albert Stanley (former CEO of KBR), David Lesar (current CEO of Halliburton) and William Utt (current CEO of KBR).

Technip, Snamprogetti and JGC Corporation were reportedly also charged on the same day. The case reference was Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Halliburton and others, CV/435/10, High Court of Justice, Abuja Judicial Division (Abuja).