Siemens and Nigeria: more skeletons come rattling out of the closet

Telecoms

The Nigerian government is investigating allegations that German telecoms and industrial conglomerate Siemens paid bribes to Nigerian officials in order to secure lucrative contracts for telecommunications equipment in the African country.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has ordered an investigation and has said that the government will not cover up for anyone found guilty of violating the law.

"The President has directed all the relevant security agencies to thoroughly investigate the allegations and take appropriate legal actions against anybody implicated in corrupt practices," said presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi in a statement. The statement continues, "In this Siemens scandal, as in all cases that border on good governance and transparency, there will neither be sacred cows nor a cover up for anybody found culpable of breaching the law.”

Local press quoted the Wall Street Journal Europe allegations that Siemens paid-off government and industry officials in Nigeria, Russia and Libya nearly $17.5 million dollars in a bid to win contracts.

The newspaper published a list of the suspected recipients of 77 bribes spanning the three countries specifying the detailed amounts that went to each of the officials, from documents released last month by a court in Munich. The court document obtained by the Wall Street Journal indicated €10 million went to a Nigerian senator, an immigration official and four former telecommunications ministers. In Libya, six bribes worth €300,000 were given to two state officials of the country’s General Post and Telecommunications Company.

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