$20m Bribe: Indicted firm, 21 Others Jostle For Contract From Government
There is disquiet in the Presidency following reports that a firm implicated in a $20million bribe has applied for a fresh contract from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is coming as the management of Intels Nigeria Limited (INL), has expressed displeasure at the termination of its Pilotage Agency Agreement by the NPA, describing the action as “preposterous” and highly injurious to Nigeria.
Findings on Wednesday revealed that allegations against those named in the scandal, including a company (Dredging International Services (Cyprus) Ltd,) might be dropped.
It is bidding for a new contract with 21 others while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is still investigating its activities.
There were indications that some bigwigs were trying to infiltrate the NPA to re-engage the company.
The management of NPA has shortlisted the company, which was indicted by Swiss authorities in the $20million bribery scam, and 21 others for bid for a new contract.
After pleading guilty in Switzerland, the company was fined 1million Francs by Swiss authorities.
The company also refunded 36 million Swiss Francs described as illegal profits.
According to investigation, the Swiss government had sent the report and court proceedings to the Federal Government for action.
Following dust raised over the alleged “inaction” of the Federal Government, the EFCC has started investigating the bribery scandal in the report.
It was learnt that the indicted firm and about 21 others have applied for a contract from the NPA .
A top source said: “The EFCC detectives are currently on the trail of the company’s activities and those who collected the $20million bribe.
“While the investigation is ongoing, the company has been cited as one of the 22 firms that had applied for a new contract in NPA. The appropriate thing is to allow the EFCC to complete its investigation.
“Some influential Nigerians are trying to wield influence to assist the said company to remain in business. This is a direct assault on the anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“What these bigwigs are planning to do was to infiltrate the NPA in spite of the fact that the bribery scandal was perpetrated before Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman came into office as managing director.
“Some government officials have been cautioning those lobbying for the company not to embarrass the Buhari administration.”
A top source said: “Some forces, including some ministers backing the company, do not want the President to be in the picture of the indicted company’s bid for new contract. They are trying to shield the Swiss records from the government.
“After proper investigation, the former Nigerian government officials were indicted alongside Dredging International that was sentenced to a fine of one million Swiss Francs and directed to refund 36 million Swiss Francs in illegal profits for allegedly making the illicit payments to the Nigerian officials.
However, a very top source in the NPA has denied the allegations
A reliable source in NPA said: “We have a serious challenge at hand and it might affect our international image. While the Swiss authorities wanted Nigeria to act on the report and recover the $20million bribe sum, Nigeria seems to have foreclosed the probe of the scandal.
“Some forces are already pushing for a reprieve for Dredging International Services (Cyprus) Ltd. They are trying to influence the ongoing investigation by NPA management. We are being told that the Federal Government is no longer interested in investigating the $20million bribery. “
“Some ministers have been implicated in the push for a pardon for the indicted firm. And to our consternation, NPA has shortlisted Dredging International Services (Cyprus) Limited and 21 others for a new contract.