Halliburton stonewalls Nigeria's bribery investigation
22 Oct. 2004
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- Halliburton continues to stonewall investigators who accuse the company of bribing Nigeria's government officials in order to win a multibillion dollar construction contract, the Financial Times reported today. A good portion of the bribes were allegedly paid during the period when U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton.###
Nigeria's lead investigator in the case, Chudi Offodile, complained that Halliburton's failure to cooperate in the investigation could be interpreted as an "admission of guilt," the Times reported. He said Halliburton's partnership, known as TSKJ, refused to answer detailed questions during a public hearing regarding its relationship with a Spanish company, known as Tri-Star, which apparently funneled bribes to Nigerian officials on behalf of TSKJ. Frustrated by the lack of cooperation, Offodile abruptly called off the hearing.
According to Nigeria's online newspaper, ThisDayOnline.com, most of the TSKJ witnesses who testified before Nigeria's House of Representatives "did not want to disclose the information they were asked to give because other investigations are going on elsewhere on the matter."
The United States, France and the United Kingdom are conducting separate criminal investigations.
ThisDayOnline said a "foreigner who claims to be a lawyer for Halliburton" had testified during the hearing, but had said he did "not speak for the company." The information he provided was not helpful, say Nigeria's investigators.
Nigeria says TSKJ hired Spanish-based Tri-Star Co., run by London lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, to pay bribes of $60 million in 1995, $37.5 million in 1999, $51 million in 2001 and $23 million in 2002, according to ThisDayOnline.com. All of TSKJ's witnesses at the hearing say they were not aware of these payments. The witnesses refused to disclose who hired Tri-Star and for what reasons.
ThisDayOnline.com reported that during the hearing, Nigeria's former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, who has been implicated in accepting bribes from TSKJ, stated through his lawyer that the contracts awarded to TSKJ were awarded behind his back. The former minister denied accepting bribes.
Another former Nigerian official, Alhaji M.D. Yusufu, admitted that he collected money from TSKJ's agent, Jeffrey Tesler, but claimed that the money was a loan and not a bribe.
A Chronology of Key Events in the Unfolding Bribery Scandal
Halliburton paid bribes during Cheney's reign, say investigators
HalliburtonWatch: Bribing Nigeria
Nigeria's government summons Halliburton CEO in bribe probe
Halliburton acting 'evasive' in bribery probe
Halliburton admits it might have bribed Nigerian government
U.S. Justice Department expands KBR bribery investigation
Interim report of the Nigerian government
THE CHENEY FACTOR; Political CEO proves risky business for Halliburton
Bribery investigation could lead to indictment of Cheney
France investigates former Halliburton executive in bribery probe
Halliburton terminates relationship with former KBR chief accused in bribery scheme
SEC opens formal investigation of Halliburton bribery scandal
Nigerian LNG to stay with contractor despite probe
Nigeria bans Halliburton from new contracts on safety concerns
Houston Chronicle: Frustration hits Nigerian panel