UK man guilty of bribing Nigerian officials
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February 2011 | Angeline Albert
The High Court has ordered M.W. Kellogg Ltd (MWKL) to pay more than £7
million, following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into bribery by its parent company.
Engineering group MWKL itself took no part in
the acts that generated the funds. The penalty reflects sums the UK company is expected to receive as a result of
the criminal activity of third parties.
parent company Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) bribed Nigerian government officials over
a 10-year period to obtain construction contracts worth more than $6 billion
(£3.7 billion). The contracts
were awarded to a consortium of four companies, including KBR.
The activity occurred
between 1994-2004 in exchange for contracts on a liquefied natural gas project in
Nigeria. The UK’s SFO said three of the four contracts awarded were obtained
through the payment of bribes or promises to pay them.
The SFO said in a
statement: “MWKL reported concerns to the SFO and co-operated with the
investigation. The SFO, working with the US Department of Justice
decided to remove the funds, which will become due to the company as a result
of the contracts. This reflects the finding that MWKL was used by the parent company and was not a willing participant
in the corruption.”
Bribery by MWKL's parent company resulted in the High Court ruling this week,
which ordered MWKL to pay £7,028,077. This is the equivalent of share dividends it would have
received from profits created by the contracts.
In February 2009, KBR
settled matters with the US DoJ and a civil settlement with the Securitiesand Exchange Commissionin relation to the bribes.
At the time,
the DoJ’s acting assistant attorney general Rita Glavin said: “This bribery
scheme involved both senior foreign government officials and KBR corporate
KBR has paid
more than $400 million in fines. KBR has agreed to transform MWKL’s internal audit and control measures
to ensure its compliance systems meet UK law.
the High Court ruling, KBR CEO William Utt, said: “This settlement was expected
and closes out an unfortunate part of KBR’s past. We have since moved forward,
conducting our business with
transparency, accountability and discipline in our continued efforts of being
the global contractor of choice.”