US Firm pleads guilty to bribing Nigerian officials

>> Friday, February 13, 2009

Found this article on ThisDay:
Lagos — Houston-based KBR pleaded guilty yesterday to federal criminal charges alleging it paid millions of dollars in bribes to Nigerian officials to win contracts to build a massive natural gas project in the country.By This Day (Nigeria) 02.12.2009
The engineering giant and military contractor will pay $402 million in fines and spend three years under the watch of a court-appointed monitor, according to the plea agreement entered before US District Judge Keith Ellison.
KBR's former parent company, Halliburton, will pay most of the fine under terms of the two companies' separation almost two years ago. KBR General Counsel Andrew Farley entered the guilty plea on behalf of the company.
The five charges-one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and four counts of violating the act-stem from allegations of a decade-long scheme in which KBR, through intermediaries, paid more than $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials to get contracts to build a $6 billion gas liquefaction plant on Nigeria's Bonny Island.
Gas liquefaction is the process of turning natural gas into a liquid so it can be transported on tankers.
In a statement yesterday, KBR Chairman and Chief Executive, William P. Utt, said the settlement of the criminal case and related Securities and Exchange Commission complaints "close both a regrettable and unfortunate chapter in KBR's rich and storied history." Utt said KBR cooperated with the government during the five-year investigation.
Last September, Albert "Jack" Stanley, a former chairman of the company previously called Kellogg Brown & Root, admitted he took part in the dealings. Stanley, of Houston, served as Kellogg Brown & Root's senior representative on a Madeira, Portugal-based consortium known as TSKJ, which was awarded four separate contracts for work on that complex.
Stanley is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6.
Last month Halliburton said it planned to pay nearly $560 million to settle allegations related to the case.
Halliburton said yesterday it will pay $382 million of the KBR fine, and KBR will pay $20 million. Halliburton will pay an additional $177 to settle SEC complaints, without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the company said.
KBR's spinoff from Halliburton was completed in April 2007, with Halliburton agreeing to cover KBR "for certain contingent liabilities" related to any fines that come out of the case, according to filings by both companies.

I'm happy to see that these money sucking corporations will get repercussions for their wrongdoings. At the same time I can't help but feel annoyed and angry, in spite of knowing this happens every day. But one can't just stop getting annoyed just because it's happening over and over. This is exactly what Nigeria don't need, most especially the Niger-Delta. I am waiting for the western corporations to step up and take their rightful responsibility. The world community can't blame Nigerian officials alone for corruption and stealing of money. The western companies have their fair share of it too. And they should know better. Coming from countries where corruption is not as open and widespread, where the population can actually enjoy seeing some of the profit being generated from their riches and hard work, if they want to claim they're not heartless leeches, they should try to spread some of those good principles to Africa instead of adding fuel to the fire. They're used to being regulated by strict laws and they should follow the same guidelines in any country of operation. I know it's a bit unrealistic since most global corporations are quite ruthless and capitalistic. But it's time they take some responsibility and we'll never get anywhere unless we demand for change. I'm happy anytime I see someone speaking up about a matter. That's what makes the difference. Let there be NO SILENCE!

Nigeria has so much potential for growing and developing. I can only imagine what could be done if some of that oil money was put into developing infrastructure such as roads and power networks. Developing the educational system and finding more environmentally responsible ways of running their oil industry. Using their highly contaminating gas flares to extract gas that could be used for cooking, instead of increasing deforestation because of lack of firewood and polluting the atmosphere. There's so many more efficient and beneficial ways of doing things.


StandTall-The Activist February 15, 2009 at 2:21 PM  

Na wa o. Let go and read the article on THIS DAY...

I really strained my eyes to read this post....

Adaeze February 16, 2009 at 10:04 AM  

really - is it too small? Doesn't appear like that on my screen.

SOLOMONSYDELLE February 16, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

lol! Standtall is right, the font is too small, but I didn't need to read the article so, my eyes didn't suffer too much, lol!

Thanks for stopping by my Nigerian Curiosity site and leaving such a kind message. I hope the site proves useful to you and am glad to find a blog I have never been to.

Funms-the rebirth February 16, 2009 at 6:46 PM  

wow, can u imagine such? i guess they thought they could get away with it....may God help is in that country....
i actually do know people that work with them here in houston....
thanx for ur kind comments on my blog....
and u speak dutch? (i hope im right)....thats so nice...

Enkay February 17, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

Really interesting read. Incidentally, I work in this same industry and we've always looked up to KBR as our 'big brothers' so you can imagine my shock at reading this!

It's not a new thing in Nigeria but it's so nice to see that some sanitation is being done. I wonder however, what about the Nigerian officials who collected the bribe? How come nothing is being said about them?

How are you doing today?

Adaeze February 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM  

Thanks for all your comments!I feel so bad about the font,lol, i'll change it as soon as i can and ENLARGE!
@Solomonsydelle - indeed your site is VERY useful and I love your personal blog as well. Expect me to be a regular!
@Funms - No, actually it is Norwegian. But you were CLOSE!
@Enkay - Wow, you work in the same industry, that must be interesting? I agree, sanitation is nice..There's good and bad news every day huh? And I agree, I wonder what is happening to the collectors..All people involved should get whats coming for them. I was so sad when they took Ribadu off the job.
I am cool thanks! Just tired and wanting some sunnier days its filled up with snow here, lol.

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