Why Jonathan Couldn’t Probe $180m Halliburton Scam …Three Heads Of State Indicted
There are new insights on why the $180million Halliburton bribery probe is lingering without the trial of some highly-placed Nigerians.
It was learnt that former President Goodluck Jonathan, who planned to table the report before the Council of State, could not do so because three former Heads of State were implicated in the scandal.
According to a source in ex-President Jonathan’s cabinet, who spoke in confidence, the former President was scared of security threats of subjecting ex-Heads of State to trial.
The source said when Jonathan sought advice, he was asked to “tread with caution” on the report.
The source said: “We need to set the records straight on the $180million Halliburton bribery scandal. A former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro was the chairman of a Presidential Committee which investigated the scam. It was under him that a former AIG, Ali Amodu, led detectives to crack the scandal and exposed those who benefited from the bribe sum.
“The panel comprised the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the EFCC, among other members. It was a bribery case with international dimension.”
“The report of the committee, which indicted more than three Heads of State, was submitted to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who promised to act on it after a trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
“But due to ill-health, Yar’Adua could not travel to Trinidad and Tobago for the Commonwealth Summit. The former leader sent the late Chief Ojo Maduekwe and former Attorney-General of the Federation Mr. Mike Aondoakaa(SAN) to the summit.
“By the time the two ministers returned from the summit. Yar’Adua’s health had deteriorated. He was flown to Saudi Arabia where he died.”
Jonathan asked for the report, which was found in the office of the late Yar’Adua, the source said.
The source explained what transpired when Jonathan went through the report.
After reading the report, it was leanrt, and read through the list of those implicated, including three former Heads of State, Jonathan decided to consider the security challenges associated with its wholesale consideration.
“Based on security implications, the administration of Jonathan opted to manage the report in such a way that it led to plea bargain by five companies,” the source said.
The five indicted firms have paid about $200million fines.
They are: Julius Berger ($35m); Siemens (Euros 30m); Snamprogetti ($30m); Halliburton Energy Services ($32,500,000); and Japan Gasoline Corporation ($26, 500,000).
The whereabouts of about $32.5million of the fines has led to the interrogation of some senior lawyers.
Those interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) J.B. Daudu (SAN), Mr. E.C Ukala (SAN), Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), D.D. Dodo (SAN) and a top shot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Roland Ewubare.
The highly-placed source added: “There are so many vested interests in Halliburton scandal. This is why one must commend the courage of the acting Chairman of the EFCC in sustaining the probe.
“The earlier we conclude investigation on this scandal, the better for this nation.”
The report of the investigative committee said in part: ”Following the submission made by Halliburton Group of Companies, a 500-page document in five notebooks on 2nd September, 2004, which was allegedly found in the archives of the London Office of KBR by Halliburton’s attorneys investigating this matter, a thorough examination/analysis of the said notebooks was done.
“Although the information contained in these notebooks are not specific in terms of amount allegedly collected by named Nigerian officials from officials of TSKJ as inducements for favours in the award of contract, it shed light on this scam and confirmed the existence of inducements shared by both officials of TSKJ and Nigerian Government who were in position to influence in the award of the contract.
“A former minister was a key player in this scam and has already admitted collecting money as inducement from Jeffrey Tesler/TSKJ to the investigating magistrate in Paris.
“That the agreement between Tri-Star Investment Ltd/Jeffrey Tesler/TSKJ for the executions of the alleged bribery scandal making way for TSKJ as favoured contractor for the award of the building and expansion of NLNG was signed and sealed on 22nd March 1995.
“The mandate of Tri-Star Investments was, among others, to secure the award of the building and expansion project on negotiated basis as opposed to participating in a competitive bidding process. It was also to assist in the maintaining of favourable relationships with the client and any other government authorities;
“Based on the extensive analysis of the five notebooks submitted by the Halliburton Group and extensive investigations carried out so far, the following facts are clearly established:-
(a.) Jeffrey Tesler was and is actually involved with several Nigerian Generals and with people in authority in the past and present;
(b.) Jeffrey Tesler’s Tri-Star Investment Ltd entered into Consulting and Commercial Promotion Services for the Nigeria LNG Project.
(c.) Jeffrey Tesler and others working in pursuance of the above mentioned agreements did meet several Nigerian Government officials and did pay gratifications/inducements/retro commissions/bribes to them in the process.
These bribes were given to secure the NLNG contract and maintaining favourable relationships with client and any other governmental authorities;
(d.) Analysis of the notebooks submitted by Halliburton Group of Companies mentioned several prominent Nigerians.”
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