It seems Nigerians have not heard the last of the widely publicized Halliburton bribery case in which many high ranking Nigerian officials and politicians were implicated. Following a request by the United States government, President Muhammadu Buhari is reported to have ordered the immediate re-opening of the case.
According to reports, President Buhari has directed security agencies to re-visit the case and recommend the next line of action.
According to Saturday Tribune’s source, the U.S. government have informed Nigeria that unless those culpable in the case were brought to book, about $140 million of the bribery monies recovered and still in the possession of the US government, would not be returned.
“Following this development, President Buhari has directed the investigation committee made up of representatives of all security agencies to dust off the file and complete the investigations and charge those indicted to court,” the source said.
The case was investigated four years ago by a security panel headed by retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Ahmadu Ali, but the case was later thrown out by the court due to lack of diligent prosecution.
An American citizen, Jeffry Tesler, who was the facilitator in the payment of the bribes paid by the company to secure the contract for the final phase of the National Liquefied Natural Gas project was sentenced to 21 months in prison and forfeited $148.964 million from his Swiss accounts to the United States government. Tesler has served out his prison sentence.
A report on the Halliburton bribery scandal by the US government had indicted three former Nigerian leaders, a former vice president, a minister, some intelligence chiefs and a few corporate entities as beneficiaries of the bribes.
One of the companies later opted for a plea bargain arrangement and paid the sum of $25 million to the US government.
The security source said further, “the case file would soon be reopened and all those who were invited during the investigation will soon appear again.”
“My brother, this is a serious case now because the government of the day is very eager to prosecute anybody indicted in it so as to serve as a deterrent to others”, the source said.