- Nigeria’s opposition party, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned against cover up in the controversial bribery case of US $150 million involving senior government official and the US company Halliburton.
According to a statement issued by NLC, the party has called on the Federal Government to ensure all those guilty of accepting the bribery in the multi billion dollar contact in Nigeria’s oil rich region are brought to the book.
NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar said if the country is to move forward in re-branding itself, it has to root out all corrupt officials and lead by example in ensuring their prosecution for their ‘evil deed’.
NLC believed that president Umaru Yar’Adua's government knew that in the Halliburton scandal, the administration’s rule of law and commitment to the anti-corruption war were at stake, hence their tactics to delay naming the culprits in the case.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), is worried that the controversy between various organisations and government officials, particularly the Attorney-General over the Halliburton bribe scandal may lead to diversion,” the statement read.
The NLC said the government has adopted a trait of broken promises that has left the country’s citizens in doubt, saying this ‘normal’ practice should not be allowed to divert attention from the monumental bribe scandal which the presidency itself claims is a rotten affair.
Earlier this month, the Nigerian government confirmed the US government has helped trace the $150 million to a secret bank account in Switzerland where millions from the Halliburton bribe belonging to Nigerian officials are lodged.
Last week, the Swiss government announced that it had blocked the account to bar officials from accessing the funds.
NLC said even if there are attempts to cover up, given the international dimensions the case had assumed, including involvement of the American, Swiss and French authorities, "any attempt of cover up will back fire".
President Yar'Adua's administration has launched a zero tolerance campaign on corruption in the country to root out all forms of corruption in the West African state. Nigeria ranks high in the Corruption Perception Index.
The latest scandal stemmed from bribes allegedly paid to top Nigerian government officials by Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root from 1994 to win $6 billion worth of contracts for the construction and expansion of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas project in Bonny River State.
In February, Halliburton admitted to paying the bribes to top officials between 1994 and 2004 of about $180 million.
The former chief executive of KBR Albert "Jack" Stanley, who pleaded guilty to making the bribes in order to secure the contracts, is to be sentenced on 6 May. KBR has agreed to pay more than $402 million in fines, of which Halliburton, as the former parent company, agreed to pay $302 million.
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