Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, (SAN) on Sunday, said only “patriotic prosecutors” can prosecute the $183m Halliburton bribery scandal case.
Falana, who also in a statement, commended the moves by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration to re-open the case, lamented that sweeping the scandal under the carpet would subject the nation to “underserved ridicule”.
He said, “No doubt, the decision of the Jonathan administration to re-open the case is in the national interest. “But the Attorney-General of the Federation must ensure, this time, that a new team of patriotic prosecutors is constituted to handle the prosecution of the suspects involved in the Halliburton scandal.”
Justice Abubakar Umar of an Abuja High Court had on March 26, 2012, struck out the case following the failure of the prosecution to arraign the suspects in court.
Falana also lamented the failure of government to bring the individuals and firms involved in the scandal to book, even when they have been fined and convicted in the United States.
According to him, in the few instances where Nigeria had benefitted from the fines imposed on the culprits, the amount is meager compared to what the US government had derived from imposing such fines.
He said, “The national embarrassment was aggravated when it was found that Halliburton and its officials, who bribed the indicted Nigerian officials pleaded guilty to the charges of bribery and corruption before criminal courts in the United States and were accordingly convicted.
“While Halliburton was ordered to pay fines of millions of dollars, the convicted officials were sentenced to prison terms.”
“However, the former US Vice-President, and the CEO of Halliburton at the material time who was charged before an Abuja court by the Mrs Farida Waziri-led EFCC for his role in the scandal was “freed” without any arraignment whatsoever.”