Wednesday, 28 May 2014

AfDB fines Dutch firm N912m over NLNG bribery scandal

THE AFRICAN Development Bank, AfD, has imposed a fine of  $5.7 million (N912 million) on a Dutch firm, Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V.  for its alleged involvement in bribe payments for Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, contracts.

The fine was announced in a statement  by the Bank Group, yesterday, entitled, ‘ÁfDB charges Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. US $5.7 million in monetary sanction for corrupt practices.’

The Bank said, “Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. admits to corrupt practices from 1995 until 2004 by affiliated companies in relation to the award of AfDB-financed services contracts for liquefied natural gas production plants on Bonny Island, Nigeria.

“The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on May 28, 2014, announced the conclusion of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement with Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. following the company’s acceptance of the charge of corrupt practices by affiliated companies in an AfDB-financed project. A

“As part of the Negotiated Resolution Agreement, the Bank’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department, IACD, levies a financial penalty of US $5.7 million against the company.

“The funds will flow into AfDB projects preventing and combating corruption in the Bank’s Member Countries on the African continent.

“In total, the AfDB has collected US $22.7 million in fines from four companies, including Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V., involved in bribe payments in connection with the liquefied natural gas production plants project on Bonny Island, Nigeria.           “In addition to the payment of a monetary sanction, the Negotiated Resolution Agreement foresees the debarment for a period of three years.

“These companies are eligible for cross-debarment under the April 2010 Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions entered into by the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank Group.

“The Portuguese entities affiliated to Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. played an active role in funneling bribes to public officials.


Monday, 19 May 2014

Oman court jails ex-minister 3 years over bribery

MUSCAT (AFP) – An Omani court has sentenced a former minister to three years in jail over graft charges, in a first for the Gulf sultanate which has vowed to combat corruption, newspapers reported Monday.

They said ex-commerce minister Mohammed bin Nasser al-Khusaibi was found guilty of bribing another official to award a contract linked to a Muscat airport expansion project to a company in which he was a shareholder.

The Muscat court on Sunday also slapped Khusaibi with a hefty 800,000-riyal ($2-million) fine, the Oman Daily Observer said.
An accomplice, a former undersecretary at the transport and telecommunications ministry, was handed the same jail term and fined.

The general manager of the company, a non-Omani Arab national, was sentenced to six months in jail, to be followed by deportation.
The Observer said a former refinery CEO who is also a member of Oman’s upper chamber had been sentenced to three years in jail for corruption in an earlier trial.

But Khusaibi was the first former government member to be handed a jail term.
A businessman has also been jailed for 18 years over several corruption cases, while an ex-chief for ports at the transport ministry received a three-year sentence, said the daily.

It did not specify when the earlier sentences were handed down, but said they were part of a government drive to “maintain transparency”.
The normally sleepy sultanate was caught up in the 2011 Arab Spring, with demonstrators taking to the streets to demand improved living conditions and reforms.

A key demand of the protests, which degenerated into clashes with security forces in which two demonstrators were killed, was the sacking of ministers accused of corruption.
Sultan Qaboos carried out major cabinet reshuffles, dismissing several ministers over corruption allegations.


Friday, 16 May 2014

Dutch nationals’ abduction: I didn’t offer N3.4m bribe to Police —Community leader

Yenagoa—Chairman of  Dodo River Regional Development Association in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Mr. Berry Negrese, yesterday, denied claims by some politicians that he was forced to pay N3.450 million as bribe to the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara and the security aide to Governor Seriaka Dickson, Col. Bernard Kenebai, for the rescue operation of the abducted Dutch nationals and bail bonds for the detained Nigerian journalists.

An online news medium had, in a report on Wednesday, alleged that the duo of the Bayelsa Police Commissioner and the Security Adviser to the state governor were involved in the extortion of N3.450 million from the Chairman of Dodo River Development Foundation for security mobilisation to facilitate the release of the abducted Dutch nationals.

Mr. Negresse, who  briefed newsmen, yesterday in Yenagoa, said the claims that a bribe was given to the police was false and a calculated attempt to rubbish the professional effort adopted in the rescue operation of the Dutch nationals.

He said: “The report by the online news medium is untrue and a fabricated report targeted at rubbishing the efforts of the police and the state government.  The police, the state government and the Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, should be commended for their effort in the rescue operation. The report is a ridiculous lie. I speak as the Chairman of Doddo River Regional Development Association and as a man who followed the rescue exercise from the beginning to the end. At no point time did anybody demand money from us.

“The police only asked me for the phone number which the kidnappers used in contacting me. While I was still trying to negotiate and find a way to pay some ransom to the kidnappers out of fear for the safety of the Dutch nationals, the police called me that they had secured their release. I was surprised at the speed and professionalism they adopted.”


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Nigerian Immigration Service denies asking Davido for bribe

Music star, Davido recently accused officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service of harassing him for money and making him miss a very important flight at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.
The accusations infuriated his fans – and many of them took to their various social media pages to insult the Nigerian Immigration service.
Responding to the accusation, the Immigration service, some hours ago, refuted claims by Davido on Instagram that NIS officers did not allow him to depart from the country because of his refusal to bribe them.
In a statement by the NIS Public Relations Officer, Emeka Obua, the service revealed that Davido had approached Immigration Officers at MMIA on the fateful day with the intention of travelling out of the country and presented a US passport number 460918874 issued at Georgia on December 14, 2009 and valid till December 14, 2019.
It explained that the officer that attended to him drew his attention to the fact that his US passport had no Nigerian visa on it with which he would have been admitted into the country, and Davido reportedly responded that he had a Nigerian passport but forgot it at home.

Read statement below:
“The officer now informed him that he should go and bring the Nigerian passport to convince him that he did not enter Nigeria illegally with a foreign passport without visa. Adeleke started arguing with the officer, who had to refer the case to his superiors and the verdict was that he could not make the trip unless he produced the said Nigerian passport.

“Livid with anger, Adeleke, in company with his bodyguards, started protesting in a disorderly manner, prompting the Comptroller of Immigration in-charge at MMIA to intervene. He advised Adeleke to call his bodyguards to order (caution) and comply with the lawful instruction which would not only erase any doubt as to his immigration status but also establish his claim to dual citizenship.”

He left and on the following day, produced his Nigerian e-passport with number A02227477 issued at Abuja on August13, 2010 and valid till August 12, 2015.