International investigations into corruption allegations could prove politically explosive
Allegations that contractors building Nigeria's fast expanding Liquefied Natural Gas complex have paid over US$180 million in illegal commissions have prompted parallel investigations in France, Nigeria and the United States. From sources close to these investigations, Africa Confidential has obtained details of the circumstances surrounding the award of the LNG construction contracts and a list of those who have received payments from the contractors' appointed agent, British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler. Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Don Etiebet has alleged 'commercial foul play' in the award of the initial $3.6 billion construction contract for Nigeria's Liquefied Natural Gas project in September 1994. The LNG project, which is now the biggest industrial project in Africa, was under Etiebet's authority as Minister at the time of this contract award but he says he was 'shunted out' of the decision-making process after he had raised concerns about bidding procedures. Etiebet was sacked five months later by the military Head of State, Sani Abacha who, he claimed, then targeted him 'for elimination'.
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