Nigeria: Charges against former US Vice President dropped

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Talks between high-ranking officials from energy firm Halliburton and Nigerian government officials over charges of bribery brought against former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney may result in out-of-court settlement.

Nigerian prosecutor Godwin Obla told reporters they were fruitful negotiations in London and there was the possibility to drop the charges against the former vice president.

According to reports, Halliburton agreed to pay about N20 billion as criminal penalty, while promising to mediate with the United States Government to recover the outstanding $I32 million which is currently frozen in Switzerland.

Cheney and several others were charged with 16 counts over a bribery scandal related to the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in southern Nigeria.

The case involves an alleged 182 million dollar cash-for-contract scandal over 10 years until 2005.

Cheney was head of Halliburton before becoming US vice president.

Nigeria’s negotiation team included the Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Emmanuel Akomaye, legal luminaries, Damian Dodo, Godwin Obla and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Roland Ewubare, and the Attorney General of Federation and Justice Minister, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke.

Femi Babafemi, the spokesman for Nigeria’s anti-graft agency said those involved in the case had offered to pay fines to avoid prosecution.

Halliburton had denied involvement in the allegations; and Cheney’s representative has dismissed the accusations against him as baseless.

Last year Halliburton and its former subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), agreed to pay 177 million dollars to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States over the scandal, while KBR reportedly paid a further 402 million dollars to settle criminal charges brought by the US Justice Department.

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