Special committee of top-level Nigerian government officials has begun to interview individuals involved in a $180 million bribery scheme involving former Halliburton Co unit KBR Inc, the head of the anti-corruption police told Reuters. KBR, the former engineering subsidiary of Halliburton, pleaded guilty in February to charges it paid the multi-million dollar bribes to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts.

Farida Waziri, chairwoman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said some committee members recently travelled to Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos to investigate and “record statements from key people that were mentioned in the Halliburton case.” She declined to reveal the names of those interviewed. Nigeria earlier this month asked the United States for the names of Nigerian officials accused of taking the bribes.

“I believe, and very strongly too, that anybody found culpable in the Halliburton scandal will be prosecuted,” she said in an interview on Tuesday at her office in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. The committee, appointed by President Umaru Yar’Adua earlier this month and chaired by Police Inspector General Mike Okiro, has been given eight weeks to investigate the case, she said.

KBR admitted at a court in Houston in February to paying bribes to high-ranking officials between 1994 and 2004 to secure four contracts for a KBR joint venture to build and expand Nigeria’s Bonny Island liquefied natural gas terminal. The period covered by the charges fall under the administration of former military ruler Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo.



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