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SLUG: 2-312845 Nigeria/Halliburton (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=02/06/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=NIGERIA/HALLIBURTON (L/O)

NUMBER=2-312845

BYLINE=CARRIE GIARDINO

DATELINE=ABIDJAN

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Nigeria has ordered an investigation into bribery allegations against a subsidiary of the U-S-based Halliburton company. Carrie Giardino reports from the V-O-A West Africa Bureau in Abidjan.

TEXT: The government in Abuja says it is launching its own investigation into claims that the Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root, or K-B-R, bribed Nigerian officials to secure a natural gas contract during the late 1990s.

K-B-R is accused of paying 180-million dollars in bribes to former Nigerian officials to ensure that it would be awarded work in a four-billion dollar project.

Nigerian presidential spokeswoman Remi Oyo says the probe is important because Nigeria wants to stamp out this type of activity.

The investigation comes as Nigeria has launched several other high-profile inquiries into corruption cases. These probes are being led by the government's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which is trying to reverse Nigeria's position as one of the world's most corrupt countries.

Nigeria's inquiry into the Halliburton subsidiary follows an announcement by the U-S Justice Department that it is also looking into the matter. Vice-President Dick Cheney was chairman of Halliburton during the second half of the 1990s, when the gas plant was being built in Nigeria.

A Halliburton spokeswoman says the company is cooperating with the U-S probe. She also says she does not have any reason to believe company officials violated U-S laws, which prohibit businesses and individuals from bribing foreign officials.

Halliburton is also facing scrutiny over allegations it overcharged the U-S government for services supplied in the Middle East as part of operations in Iraq. (SIGNED)

NEB/CG/DW/TW



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