June 15, 2009

Halliburton: CNPP appeals to US on information

By Kingsley Omonobi
TWO days after Vanguard’s exclusive publication that US authorities were not too enthusiastic in providing assistance in the investigation of the multi- million dollar Halliburton scam by the Mike Okiro panel, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), has warned that failure of the US to provide such information will create the opportunity for looters of the nation’s wealth to escape.

Consequently, CNPP has appealed to the US government to avail the Okiro panel the information it needed in line with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty existing between the countries.

According to a statement signed by Mr. Osita Okechukwu, CNPP’s  National Publicity Secretary, ‘Whereas, we acknowledge the phobia of the United States of America over President Umaru Yar’Adua’s regime’s scant commitment to the war against corruption, especially the double speak of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief M.K.
Aondoakaa, however in the spirit and letters of the Nigeria-USA Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), the age-long relationship between both countries, the depraved Nigerians and the Niger Delta crisis, we earnestly appeal for the immediate release of the court statements, evidence and identities of Nigerians who placed greed over the development of Nigeria.”

“Conference of Nigeria Political Parties {CNPP} predicates this appeal on the likelihood that the US Government refusal to release the evidence gathered by the US Department of Justice and Security and Exchange Commission, may inadvertently assist the Nigerian Government to shield Nigerians who are neck-deep in the scam”.

“CNPP accordingly is holding a meeting on Tuesday 16th  June to ratify a formal Appeal to the US Government, to fully disclose the US Department judgment, as up-to-date, nothing has been heard nor any prosecution over past scandals like the Siemens, Wilbros, ID Card, Oil Lifting and other blood dripping scams”.

“On this very Halliburton scam, we do not know why President Yaradua’s regime which declared zero tolerance of corruption, could not invite those who had done thorough investigations on this matter, like Hon Chudi Offodile, Ibrahim Magu, Patrick Smith, Albert Stanley and others”.

“It is amazing that instead of inviting Ibrahim Magu or dust EFCC Report to help the panel set up by the government, Magu, a serving police officer and EFCC top officer, for the past months has been under suspension for interrogating one of the sacred cows”.

“ Hon Chudi Offodile then chairman House Committee on Public Petitions quipped,’not much was heard of the EFCC investigation, which had Ibrahim Magu as an investigation officer, I got to know of it when I asked Halliburton solicitors in Nigeria (Templars) for copies of the Chodan Notes and the contract agreement between LNG Servicos (TSKJ Subsidiary) and Tri-Star (Tesler).’

“CNPP is outraged that without full disclosure by the US Department of Justice, successful investigation, prosecution and penalties commensurate with the looting, will not be executed. For it is sad that those entrusted with our patrimony instead of developing the country or even the land that produced the golden egg-the Niger Delta, were designating agents to negotiate and collect bribes”.

“Consequently, we appeal to the US Government to release forthwith the relevant documents in line with fine tenets of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, the avoidable poverty and the Niger Delta crisis, premised on the fact that if the Nigerian government fails to prosecute, we shall take the gauntlet”.

Vanguard had reported last Saturday that following the reluctance of the US authorities to play ball, the Okiro panel has resorted to contacting Britain, GFrance and Germany for information to resolve the loopholes still holding the final report of the panel.