ONUMBA.COM – When Nigeria filed a lawsuit on December 7 against former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney and oil company Halliburton, some probably dismissed the move as an ostentatious pursuit of the impossible.
Rather, it was pay-up time.
Halliburton has agreed to pay the West African nation the sum of $35 million to settle a bribery scandal which Nigerian officials said occurred when Cheney was the Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton.
Cheney, 69, and ailing, was with the company before being elected vice-president of the United States under President George W. Bush in 2000.
Nigeria accepted the deal even though a settlement of $250 million was sought.
By accepting the deal, Nigeria agreed to rescind the lawsuit and all charges filed against Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and all entities and persons named in the case.
This saga escalated after Nigeria’s anti graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, deepened its investigation of Halliburton activities in the country, probing Cheney’s role in the bribery scandal.
Cheney, arguably the most powerful vice-president in the history of the United States, was the leader of Halliburton when a suspicious gas plant popped up in the Delta region of Southern Nigeria, prompting questions by Nigerian officials over whether Cheney and other Halliburton officials paid Nigerian government officials $180 million in “cash for contract” bribery to secure $6 billion contracts for the construction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.
Nigeria’s lawsuit probably piggy-backed on a pair of investigations in the U.S where federal agencies brought similar charges against Halliburton which later negotiated a combined settlement of $579 million.
Nigeria is one of the world’s major oil producers, but because of massive level of corruption and mismanagement, the country is ravaging deep in squalor, its citizens toiling in apocalyptic despair and bone-crushing poverty.