The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has petitioned Mrs Farida Waziri, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) requesting her to “urgently take steps to seek adequate damages and compensation against multinational corporations who have been found guilty in the US of committing foreign bribery in Nigeria, and to take all necessary steps to effectively bring to justice the Nigerian officials complicit in such cases of bribery.”
In a petition dated 2 August 2011, and signed by SERAP Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group said that, “The failure by the Nigerian government to ensure that adequate damages are paid in proven cases of foreign bribery in the country constitutes a violation of the international legal rights of the deprived, and may itself constitute an international wrong.”
The group said that, “Many multinational corporations operating in Nigeria have paid several millions of dollars in bribes to Nigerian government officials and to some political parties. However, while huge payments have been made in settlements in the US, Germany and the UK, only a paltry amount has been paid in Nigeria.”
The group also said that, “Yet, the Nigerian people have suffered more the effects of foreign bribery. Foreign bribery has caused immense damage and devastation to the economy and to institutions of governance, and directly undermined the full and effective enjoyment of internationally recognized human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights by the citizens.”
“Nigerians have not benefitted from the large number of foreign bribery cases and investigations in OECD Convention countries that include allegations of bribery in Nigeria,” the group added.
The group further argued that, “foreign bribery in the country has uneven consequences against the vulnerable groups of the society, including the poor, women and children, perpetrating and institutionalizing discrimination. It also jeopardizes the needs and well-being of future generations.”
According to the group, “While settlement by Halliburton Co and Kellogg Brown & Root LLC (KBR) in Nigeria has amounted only to US $35 million, the corporation has paid over $727 million in settlement and damages in the US. Similarly, Technip SA has paid $338 million in settlement in the US but has not paid any damages in Nigeria.
Snamprogetti Netherlands BV and ENI SpA paid only $32.5 million in Nigeria but has paid $365 million in the US.” “JGC Corp paid $28.5 million in Nigeria but paid $218.8 million in the US; MW Kellogg paid no damages in Nigeria but has paid £7 million in the UK.
Also, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has paid only $29.5 million in Nigeria while Willbros International has paid over $41 million in the US but has made no payment in Nigeria. Panalpina paid $82 million in US but no payment has been made in Nigeria. The Royal Dutch Shell Plc has paid only $10 million in Nigeria whereas it has paid $48.2 million in the US,” the group further said.
The group also said that, “Pride International paid $56.1 million in the US but made no payment in Nigeria; Noble Corp has paid $8.1 million in the US but no payment made in Nigeria; Tidewater Inc has paid $15.7 million in the US but no payment in Nigeria; Transocean Inc made payment of $20.6 million in the US but no payment made in Nigeria; Shell Nigerian Exploration and Production Co. Ltd paid $18 million in the US but no payment in Nigeria; and Siemens AG paid only $46 million in Nigeria whereas it paid $800 million in the US, and €796 million in Germany.”
The group argued that, “The disparity in payment of damages is unfair and violates the fundamental provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption, which Nigeria has ratified.
In particular, Article 34 obligates member states to address consequences of corruption, and to consider any remedial action. And Article 35 provides that persons who have suffered damage as a result of an act of corruption have the right to adequate damages and compensation.”
The group urged the EFCC to “exert its mandate, power, and resources to ensure that the multinational corporations mentioned above pay adequate damages to the Nigerian people for the foreign bribery committed in the country, and to ensure a transparent and accountable spending of any recovered damages.”
“The Commission should also fully and transparently prosecute all Nigerian public officials complicit in any cases of bribery by multinational corporations in the country,” the group further added.