The United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria have signed an agreement that will enable a compensation payment to be made to Nigeria of £210,610, following a successful investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
A statement by the UK High Commission in Abuja on Monday said Amec Foster Wheeler (AFWEL), a British firm, was investigated for the use of corrupt agents in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on Monday between the Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford and Minister of Justice and the Attorney General for Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, sets out the terms and understanding between the Government of the UK and the Federal Government of Nigeria to make the compensation payment.
The Government of the UK will transfer the compensation amount in the sum of £210,610 (N118.4 million) within 28 days from the date of signing the MOU.
In both instances, the MoU confirmed that the Nigerian government has pledged to use the returned funds for projects that will benefit and improve the country.
The compensation amount will be utilized by the Federal Government of Nigeria exclusively for the purpose of financing segments of the following infrastructure projects (as set out in Schedule 1) that were approved by the Nigerian National Assembly under the 2020 Appropriation Act, and procured and approved by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council in accordance with Nigeria’s Bureau for Public Procurement Act, 2007 (“the Projects”): The Lagos to Ibadan Expressway, the Abuja to Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge.
During the signing of the MoU, Minister Ford said: “The Security and Defence Dialogue held in February 2022 between our two countries reaffirmed both the UK and Nigeria’s commitment to work together to tackle illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption.
“The UK has a zero-tolerance policy to corruption and we hope that today’s signing sends a clear statement about our commitment to this.
“In a global economy where international trade is vital it is more important than ever that companies operate with integrity and transparency.
“Illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption stifle economic growth, trade, stable governance and the security of both our countries.”
The compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria was secured after a four-year corruption investigation led by the SFO in the UK.
The money was obtained through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), which is when a prosecutor agrees to defer prosecution in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfil certain requirements such as accepting criminal liability for offences and paying the appropriate compensation.
Last year March, the UK Government returned £4.2 million to Nigeria from funds recovered from associates of the former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.