Nigeria asks Germany for info on Siemens bribery case

The African country wants to know who was involved in the scheme

Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is asking German authorities for a copy of the sentence a Munich court handed in the case of two former Siemens managers found guilty of bribery to obtain telecom contracts in Nigeria.

The request comes less than three weeks after the World Bank said it was implementing measures to curb corruption in the ICT projects it funds. The World Bank launched a new initiative dubbed e-Transformation that is aimed at driving the region's telecom sector growth in collaboration with the private sector and African governments.

EFCC Chairwoman Farida Waziri said this week that a certified copy of the judgment will help the agency know the people that were involved in the bribery and how much was given to them. Waziri said the EFCC has a list of names of people suspected to have been bribed by Siemens officials and that statements have already been recorded from those suspected to have been involved based on the agreement between the two countries.

Nigeria and Germany have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The Attorney General of the Federation Mohammed Adoke, who is also the Nigerian Minister of Justice, has requested the judgment from the German authorities.

"[The] Nigerian government's decision will certainly bring fear to people holding public offices not to abuse their authority," said Edith Mwale, telecom analyst at Africa agency for ICT Development. The effect should ripple to other African nations, she added.

By involving the private sector including Microsoft, IBM and Intel, the World Bank expects less corruption in the awarding and implementation of the ICT projects that it is funding in Africa, particularly e-procurement.

Last year, Siemens lost the right to bid for the World Bank funded communication projects for two years after corruption allegations surrounded the company's acquisition of supply contracts in Nigeria and Libya. The Germany company is alleged to have paid more than $100 million in bribes to officials in Nigeria and Libya in order to win favors for supply contracts. The company is also alleged to have paid bribes to government officials in Egypt and Cameroon among other African countries.

In 2007, the company was indicted by a court in Germany for paying more than $12.7 million to three former communication ministers in Nigeria. Two former Siemens officials were found guild of bribing Nigerian officials.

After complaints from the World Bank and many other telecom institutions in Nigeria, the Nigerian government was forced to cancel a supply contract with Siemens and suspended dealings with the company pending investigations into allegations that it gave more than $14 million in bribes to Nigerian government officials in order to be offered the supply contract.

Last year, the World Bank agreed to set aside $50 million for ICT infrastructure development, connectivity, skills and development and capacity building for Nigeria.

Siemens later committed to paying $100 million to support the bank's global effort over the next 15 years to fight corruption. The company also agreed to provide information on any additional cases of wrongdoing to the World Bank's integrity vice presidency, which investigates fraud and corruption.

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