Nigeria‘s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is interrogating 12 foreign oil firm executives over bribes worth more than $100 million. Executives from US oil services firms Tidewater, Transocean and Noble Corporation are being held. The panel accuses them and executives of Lagos-based Murphy Shipping of offering bribes to Nigerian officials. Last month, Nigeria dropped charges against Houston-based oil services giant Halliburton and executives—including former US vice president Dick Cheney—after a $35 million settlement. (Bloomberg, Jan. 13)
Press commentators in Nigeria are accusing the government of acting illegally in settling with Halliburton and dropping charges against Cheney. Nigeria had applied for an Interpol arrest warrant in connection with the $180-million bribery case.
In an open letter, prominent attorney Osuagwu Ugochukwu charged that there is no basis in Nigerian law for monetary settlements in criminal cases. Nigerian officials say they cut the deal because they were unsure they could get a guilty verdict against Cheney. Ex-Halliburton subsidiary KBR pleaded guilty in a US court to the charges in 2009. KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, paid a $382 million fine for bribing Nigerian officials to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. (Raw Story, Dec. 28)
See our last post on petro-oligarchical rule.