The Halliburton Bribery Scandal, regarded as one of the messiest in Nigeria’s history, in terms of the personalities and the amount of money involved, dates to 1994, when the Nigerian government launched ambitious plans to build the Bonny Island Natural Liquefied Gas Project.
The total scandal sums up to $178,575,675. And with president Muhammadu Buhari ordering the re-opening of the Halliburton Bribe scandal case last year, many Nigerians are asking “how far has he gone in honestly going after the involved felons. What’s more, Nigerians are watching how effective justice can be.”
TESLER’S CONFESSION: A SYSTEM OF CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
“There is no day when I do not regret my weakness of character, I allowed myself to accept standards of behaviour in a business culture which can never be justified. I accepted the system of corruption that existed in Nigeria. I turned a blind eye to what was happening, and I am guilty of the offenses charged.” This was the confession of British lawyer, Jeffrey Tesler, in a Houston courtroom at the end of his 2012 sentencing hearing for his role in the Halliburton Bribery Scandal.
NINE SWISS BANKERS: NIGERIANS INVOLVED
Nine people, including members of the Tesler family and Nigerian nationals, held a variety of roles with accounts at HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) between 1990 and 2003 — months before the completion of the gas plant.
Between 2009 and 2011, the consortium members paid penalties totalling more than $1.5 billion for their role in the bribery scheme. Two KBR officials who had worked with Tesler, Wojciech Chodan and Albert (Jack) Stanley, KBR’s former chairman and CEO, were sentenced to one year of probation and 30 months in prison, respectively.
A REPENTANT LAWYER SEEKING FORGIVENESS
The convicted lawyer, Tesler began planning the bribe payments in 1994 and transferred small amounts of money through Switzerland in July 1996. But by 2003, his role had escalated. Tesler, 66, has completed his sentence and is back to England where he hopes to “spend the last few years, which God may graciously grant me (him), to seek forgiveness.”
CHRIS GARUBA AND ANDREW AGOM, THE NIGERIAN LINKS
Some documents revealed that Tesler had financial connections to two former Nigerian officials: Major General Chris Garuba (Rtd.) and chief of staff to former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar who allegedly received bribes; and Andrew Agom, a senior government official who was killed in an attack on a motorcade. Before his death, Agom was a board member of the People’s Democratic Party, which controlled the government when this affair unfolded.
DAN ETETE’S EMERGENCE
On March 20, 1995, Dan Etete replaced Nigeria’s former oil minister, there are speculations that this happened because he had fallen out with the dictator, Gen. Abacha.
Between 1996 and 1998, $2.5 million was said to have been transferred from the London Lawyer, Mr Tesler into the Swiss bank accounts held by Mr. Etete under a false name between 1996 and 1998 and Mr. Tesler confirmed making the payments but told the magistrate that the money was for an investment in offshore oil exploration leases in Nigeria.
September 2004: Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo officially bans Halliburton from bidding on future government contracts because it violated safety regulations for nuclear material. The president accused the company of negligently causing the disappearance of two highly sensitive radioactive devices used to take measurements in oil wells. The ban is apparently not related to the ongoing bribery investigations.
Mr. Tesler had been working on behalf of TSKJ prior to March 1995 and the employment contract was given to Mr. Tesler as a reward for his prodding of Nigerian officials. The employment contract provided that Mr. Tesler would be paid $60 million if Nigeria awarded the construction contract to TSKJ. Mr. Tesler’s Tri-Star was contracted to receive at least $160 million in five agreements signed between 1995 and 2002, and the funds were directed to bank accounts in Switzerland and Monaco.
Later in August 2004, Nigeria’s lawmakers voted unanimously to summon Halliburton CEO, David Lesar, to answer questions over its bribery investigation. It issues a report recommending that Halliburton and TSKJ be disqualified from bidding on future government projects. It denounces what it calls Halliburton’s “hide-and-seek games” to avoid questions from government investigators.
THE CLAIMS OF THE INVESTIGATORS
On October 22, 2004 Investigators with Nigeria’s parliament complain that Halliburton is not being cooperative in their investigation of the alleged bribery. The investigators say Mr. Tesler paid bribes on behalf of TSKJ to Nigerian government officials. The bribes were paid in installments: $60 million in 1995, $37.5 million in 1999, $51 million in 2001 and $23 million in 2002.
WAS DICK CHENEY INVOLVED TOO?
The Halliburton bribery scandal was so large that even the former US Vice president, Dick Cheney (Bush’s Dick), former company CEO, was indicted by Nigeria and cleared after Halliburton worked out a $35 million settlement. ($35 million that remains unaccounted for.)
Here is a breakdown revealing the alleged payment made in the Halliburton Bribery Scandal.
ALLEGED PAYMENTS IN HALLIBURTON BRIBERY SCANDAL
1. 1994-1995, Late Gen. Sani Abacha collected $40 Million USD
2. 1996-1998, Chief Dan Etete collected $2.5 Million USD
3. 1996-1998, M.D. Yusuf collected $75,000 USD
4. March/June 1998, Grety Overseas UK and Riser Brothers collected $1,120,000 USD
5. 1998, Abulkadir Abacha collected $1,887,000 USD
6. 1999-2000, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar and Chief Don Etiebet collected $37.5 Million USD
7. March 1999, Prince N. A. Bayero and Glosmer Int. (Risers Brothers) collected $600,000 USD
8. March 1999, Edith Unuigbe $290,000 USD
9. March 1999, Zertasha Malik and Gret Overseas (Risers Brothers) collected $600,000 USD
10. 1999-2000, Messr Shinkafi, Aliyu and Glosmer Int. Risers Brothers) collected $195,000 USD
11. 2001-2002, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar, Gaius Obaseki and Funsho Kupolokum collected $74 Million USD
12. 2001-2002, Bodunde Adeyanju collected $5 Million USD
13. 2001-2002, Ibrahim Aliyu, Urban Shelter and Intercellular collected $11.700,000 USD
14. 2001-2002, M.G. Bakare collected $3,108,675 USD
TOTAL = $178,575,675 USD
– Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng