Nigeria filing bribery charges against Cheney in connection with Halliburton contract

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[JURIST] Nigerian prosecutors announced Thursday that they are instituting bribery charges against former US vice president Dick Cheney [BBC profile] in connection in with a contract that Halliburton [corporate website; JURIST news archive] subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) [corporate website] obtained to build a natural gas project in the Niger Delta area. Bribes amounting to USD $180 million were allegedly given to Nigerian government officials so that KBR could obtain the $6 billion construction contract. Cheney served as Halliburton’s chief executive officer from 1995 through August 2000 [CBS report], while the bribery is alleged to have occurred from 1995 to 2005 [AFP report]. According to Godwin Obla, prosecuting attorney for Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, indictments will be issued within three days [WSJ report]. KBR spilt from Halliburton in 2007. In addition to Halliburton, indictments will also be issued to officials from four other foreign companies. Last year, Halliburton and KBR agreed to paid a $579 million fine [Bloomberg report] to resolve US criminal and regulatory violations stemming from the Bonny Island contract and bribery.

Halliburton and its subsidiaries and subcontractors have been implicated in a number of law violations. In July 2007, former Eagle Global Logistics (EGL) executive Kevin Andre Smoot pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to making a false statement and violating the Anti-Kickback Act. In 2006 EGL, a Houston-based company hired by KBR to ship military cargo to Iraq, paid the government $4 million [press release; JURIST report] to settle potential claims under the False Claims Act [text] that it inflated invoices for Iraq military cargo shipments. EGL was accused of charging a “war risk surcharge” on military shipments from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Iraq between November 2003 and July 2004. In November 2006, KBR settled fraud allegations [DOJ press release; JURIST report] under the False Claims Act and agreed to pay the US $8 million for allegedly overcharging the Army for logistical support it provided between 1999 and 2000. The DOJ alleged that KBR double-billed the military and delivered non-conforming goods to be used for the construction of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. According to a report issued in October 2006, KBR violated [JURIST report] the US Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) [official website] directive on classifying proprietary data by claiming protection for information normally in the public sphere.

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