Wednesday, October 24, 2012

U.S.$180 Million Halliburton Scandal - FG Orders Re-Arrest of Principal Suspects


Abuja — There were indications in Abuja, Tuesday, that the Presidency has directed the Police to re-arrest the principal suspects in the $180million Halliburton bribery scandal, involving prominent Nigerians, for prosecution.

This is sequel to the insistence by the US authorities that the $130million presently in the US government coffers, will be returned to Nigeria only after the culprits were prosecuted as the Americans have done.

As a result of the directive, Vanguard gathered that the Inspector General of Police has directed the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigations Department to resuscitate the investigative report of the CP Ali Amodu-led panel that investigated the scandal and submitted its report in 2010.

Consequently, such principal suspects like the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Dominic Bello; former federal Permanent Secretary and Intercellular boss, Ibrahim Aliyu; former GMD of NNPC, Gaius Obaseki; former Special Assistant to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Domestic Affairs, Mr. Bodunde Adeyanju and a former Secretary to the board of LNG, Mrs. Anthony are to be re-arrested for prosecution.

Aside the arrest of the principal suspects in the bribery scandal, the source told Vanguard that the US government is insisting that the whereabouts of the $26. 5million returned by Construction giants, Julius Berger, in a plea bargain arrangement, should be located and handed over to the police, as until today, nobody including the police know where the money was paid or deposited.

Recall that Julius Berger was one of the indicted concerns in the $180million Halliburton bribery scandal while another indicted group was TSKJ, the Consortium of four companies that eventually carried out the construction of the Liquefied Natural Gas Company.

Vanguard had reported in 2010 that the Consortium of companies under the umbrella, TSKJ, was also interested in a plea bargain arrangement and may cough out as much as $50million into government coffers before the plea bargain will be taken seriously.

Recall that Budunde had confessed to the investigating team that he collected the sum of $6million from Chief Obaseki while he was lodging at TRANSCORP HILTON and handed the money over to Mallam Lawal Batagarawa, former Minister of State for Defence, who further handed same to Chieftains of a popular political party.

On Julius Berger's $26.5million, Vanguard had reported in 2010 that the five-man inter-agency panel that investigated the scandal, raised an alarm after Julius Berger entered into a plea bargain arrangement to exonerate it from prosecution but the money was no where to be found.

......KINGSLEY OMONOBI/VANGUARD, OCTOBER 23, 2012
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