The UK is signing 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 relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
On Monday 21 February, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland signed a Memorandum of Understanding in a joint commitment to continue the fight against corruption.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed between the Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford and the Attorney General for Nigeria the Abubakar Malami, sets out the terms and understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Federal Government of Nigeria to make this compensation payment.
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 Serious Fraud Office (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 a accepting criminal liability for offences and paying the appropriate compensation. In this case, the DPA was agreed with Amec Foster Wheeler (AFWEL), relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
This compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria demonstrates that when such acts of crime are identified, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will investigate these companies and where evidence is found will ensure that they face appropriate sanctions.
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. On this occasion, the Government of the United Kingdom will transfer the compensation amount in the sum of £210,610 (118.4 million Naira) within twenty-eight (28) days from the date of signing this MOU. In both instances, the MoU’s confirm that the Nigerian government has pledged to use the returned of funds for projects that will benefit and improve the country.
The UK will remain committed to returning all illegal assets, no matter the amount, as per the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said:
“We have a zero tolerance approach to companies who think they can bribe their way to financial success. Bribery and corruption not only stifle real economic growth and free trade, they also damage democracy and therefore risk the security of all our countries.
“I am of course delighted that the tenacity of my SFO colleagues has resulted in the people of Nigeria being compensated in a way that will truly benefit them.”