SIEMENS has agreed to pay the Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of N7 billion as penal fines in return for dropping criminal charges instituted against the company by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke, said the government’s decision to withdraw the charges against Siemens AG and Siemens Limited was borne out of their sober expression of regret and undertaking to be of good conduct in all their future dealings in the country.
He said though there have been calls for jail sentences to be imposed on corrupt businessmen, the heavy fines imposed on Siemens, apart from being a deterrent, would go a long way in financing infrastructural development in the country.
He stated that “the practice of insisting on the disgorgement of such bribes and other proceeds of corruption is to show that corruption no longer pays in Nigeria and any person who engages in such, stands the risk of not only going to jail, but also paying back whatever sums that can be traced back to them”.
While assuring the nation of the governments’ resolve to provide a conducive operating environment for genuine investors, he cautioned that government would not condone any deliberate contravention of Nigeria’s laws for business or personal gain.
Earlier this month, the EFCC arraigned Siemens AG and Siemens Limited alongside four Nigerian civil servants allegedly involved in a $17.5 million bribery scandal.
The suspects are alleged to have between 2002 and 2006 accepted financial gratification in excess of 17.5 million euros from Siemens in a bid to influence the award of power and communication contracts.
SIMEON OGOEGBULEM in Abuja, Nigeria