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Home arrow Africa arrow Halliburton May Pay $500m To Avert Cheney’s Trial
Halliburton May Pay $500m To Avert Cheney’s Trial PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Guardian   
Dec 11, 2010 at 04:01 AM

Hilary_clinton_news_11-12-10US. Hopes Leaks Won’t Hurt Ties With Nigeria
AMERICAN Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton yesterday dropped a hint that Washington and oil services company, Halliburton were working towards an amicable resolution of the face-off between that country’s former Vice President Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney and Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which wants to prosecute him over alleged bribery charges.

“WE do not believe that there will be a basis for further action, but we will look into it,” Clinton remarked, giving the first official reaction of the United States government to Cheney’s indictment by the EFCC in the $180million Halliburton scandal in Nigeria.

EFCC Chairman Farida Waziri had on Thursday said the Nigerian government’s decision to prosecute Cheney over alleged complicity in the Halliburton 180 million bribe for contract deal was to demonstrate that nobody was above the law.

Speaking at an anti-corruption rally to mark this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, Waziri decried the manner in which some multi-national companies come into Nigeria to do business with the mindset that the country was corruption-ridden and thus engage in sharp practices.             “No one is above the law and the EFCC is poised to pursue all corrupt cases before it without considering personality profile to ensure that justice is achieved in the end,” she stated
She explained that the EFCC was on the verge of recovering more than $500 million from some multi-national companies that have violated the law in Nigeria.
She also, in Plateau State, said the EFCC has so far recovered U$ 3.5 million from economic crimes culprits.

Waziri, represented by the Assistant Head of Internal Audit of the EFCC Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Abraham Anjorin, disclosed this during the commemoration of this year’s International Day against corruption organized by the Plateau State chapter of the Anti-Corruption Revolution in collaboration with the anti-graft agency which took place at the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Centre for Excellence in Bukuru.

Meanwhile, Vice President Namadi Sambo, at the ministerial committee session and 10th anniversary celebrations of the Inter-Governmental Action Group on Money Laundering (GIABA), in Abuja yesterday said that since the setting up of the EFCC about a decade ago, $11 billion has been recovered by the body while its ground activities have stalled many more perilous activities of economic criminals. And, Sambo, represented by the minister of the Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho, said that since the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes has become one of the standard barometers of good governance, Nigeria would love to be well acquitted on this count in the comity of nations.

Besides, Washington is hoping that the recent leaks of sensitive information in US diplomatic cables regarding Nigeria by Wikileaks will not damage the friendly relationship between both countries, according to the American Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Philip J. Crowley.
Crowley who answered reporters questions after an earlier press conference addressed by Mrs. Clinton and Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Odein Ajumogobia at the end of their meeting on Thursday afternoon, condemned the leaked documents regarding Nigeria from US diplomats.
Clinton’s speech on Thursday afternoon in Washington DC after her meeting with Ajumogobia at the US State Department, indicated that Cheney was not likely to be prosecuted in Nigeria over the Halliburton corruption scandal. It also indicated a US preference for a possible out of court settlement, sources said yesterday.

For instance, yesterday some US news website were already disclosing potential fines that Halliburton was willing to pay to stop the arraignment of the former US leader.
Clinton was asked whether the former vice president would be coming to Nigeria to answer the charges leveled against him in the ongoing Halliburton probe in line with Nigeria and the US Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement Treaty.

According to Secretary Clinton “Well, I’m not going to comment on any legal matter. Once an issue is in the court system, we will handle it through appropriate legal channels. So that’s got to be the way that we’re going to respond. But of course, we do not believe that there will be a basis for further action, but we will look into it.”

Just as the US government expressed its official view on the matter for the first time, US news website are also reporting that the oil services company,  Halliburton may have been engaging lawyers to negotiate with EFCC on the payment of up to $500 million in fines to settle bribery charges against the former US Vice President.

According to rawstory.com, the US oil firm is seeking ways to settle and protect the former Vice president, who was Chief Executive Officer during part of the time that the bribes were paid out to Nigerian officials, from any personal embarrassment.

The news website rawstory.com is an alternative news source based in Washington DC from which the US mainstream media at times sources information. The website says it focuses on stories under-reported by the US major news organization and draws “ upon a panoply of news sources and select those stories we think most intriguing to an audience seeking news underplayed by the mainstream media.”

Indeed, the chairman of the Nigerian anti-corruption agency, EFCC which recently announced an indictment of the former US Vice President was also quoted on Friday as having said in Abuja that the US former Vice President was not above the law, and considering the amount of money spent on the bribes, those at the helm of the company like Cheney cannot but be aware of the expenditure.
Although Clinton and Ajumogobia did not discuss the issue at their meeting, sources say the US government has been particularly concerned over the indictment of the former US Vice President not sure what the best way to respond, especially since both Nigeria and the US have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

Based on Clinton’s comment, sources said the US is likely to pursue a negotiated settlement of the involvement of the former Vice President outside the courts.
Since the story broke, Cheney has not responded to media inquiries either directly or through his assistants. Halliburton, headquartered in Houston, USA, has also not openly issued any statement on the matter.

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