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Nigeria may recover Haliburton bribe money

The Swiss Government of Switzerland is willing to release the $150 million Halliburton bribe money trapped in Swiss bank accounts to Nigeria if the Nigerian government makes a formal request.
Switzerland’s Foreign Minister, Michele Telary-rey, who disclosed this in Abuja while meeting with Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe, said her country regards Nigeria as an economically and politically strategic country in Africa and would do everything to ensure a good relationship.
She said Switzerland was committed to the release of the trapped funds to help in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Dr. Martin Egomoivi, who was part of the delegation, also expressed optimism that the negotiation with the Swiss Government would reap positive result as the European country was committed to repatriating the funds.
The Nigerian envoy said Switzerland has 60 companies operating in Nigeria with about $200 million investment.
Responding, Maduekwe expressed the appreciation of the Nigerian government for the understanding in the Halliburton affair and asked for assistance and professional expertise in agriculture and gas flaring.
The Federal Government had two weeks ago disclosed that investigators had traced $150 million out of the $180 million Halliburton bribe money to Zurich, Switzerland – saying it was yet to ascertain the name of the account holder.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Mike Aondoakaa, who described the discovery as “shocking”, said the money had been trapped in Zurich because it had been difficult to establish the operator of the account but warned that no government official found culpable would be speared.
He however did not state categorically who found it difficult to ascertain the account’s owner – whether the Nigerian government or officials of the unnamed bank.
About $180 million was said to have been paid out to some Nigeria top government officials as bribe through a subsidiary of Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), to facilitate the award of $6 billion LNG contracts.
“We have discovered that $150 million of the bribe money is in Zurich. That is the first shocking discovery. The entire money is $180 million. $150 million is already trapped in Zurich,” he said.