By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJAâ€”AGAINST the backdrop of calls for President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2011 elections, the United States of America has warned the President that unless he ordered the prosecution of suspects in the $180million Halliburton scandal which is known to him, it would not back his bid.
The United States further said it was ready and willing to help Nigeria collect and return the millions of dollars of the bribe money stashed in Swiss and other European banks provided President Jonathan promised that the suspects would be arrested immediately and prosecuted.
The warning came on the heels of new shocking revelations that the investigation of the $180million Halliburton scandal may be discontinued following alleged directive to the President not to continue with it because the money was used to sponsor some elections of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua.
Vanguard gathered, however, that following the US pressure and those from human rights bodies and the media, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had been directed to prosecute only two of the suspects, Bodunde Adeyanju, former Special Assistant to former President Obasanjo on Domestic Affairs, and Ibrahim Aliyu, one time federal permanent secretary and cousin to former head of state, General Abdulsalami AbubakarÂ for their roles in the collection of the bribe money.
Bodunde had confessed that he collected $6million from former GMD of the NNPC, Jackson Gaius Obaseki at his NICON Hilton Hotel suite while Ibrahim Aliyu allegedly collected over $40million for himself and his principal.
The plan to arraign and prosecute only Bodunde and Aliyu was said to be causing problems to the Inter Agency panel as the action might backfire.
A source told Vanguard that since six suspects, including Bodunde Adeyanju, Ibrahim Aliyu, Mallam Lawal Batagarawa, AVM Dominic A. Bello, Mr. Jackson Gaius Obaseki and Chief Don Etiebet, who was said to have collected over $10million, were granted bail on â€˜plea bargaining;â€™ prosecution of only Bodunde and Aliyu would not work.
The source said: â€œTowards this end, all documents relating to prosecution of Bodunde and Aliyu have been forwarded to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation but with advice that if only two of them are prosecuted, there would be crisis, and confusion.â€