Nigeria bans Halliburton from new contracts on safety concerns
20 Sept. 2004
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The government of Nigeria today banned Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria (HESN) from bidding on all new contracts after finding the company violated safety regulations. Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo approved the ban, saying Halliburton was negligent in causing the disappearance of two highly sensitive radioactive devices used to take measurements in oil wells. The ban was also imposed because of Halliburton's refusal to cooperate with authorities to find the missing devices, which disappeared from Halliburton's Nigerian operations in 2002.###
"Mr. President has approved a ban on the award of contracts to the company by any ministry, parastatal, or agency of government until further directive on the matter," a statement from the president's office said.
The ban comes at an awkward time for Halliburton, whose behavior in Nigeria has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Nigeria's House of Representatives voted to summon CEO, David Lesar, to respond to allegations that his company and three other firms paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials in order to win a multibillion dollar construction contract. The bribes allegedly occurred during the period when Vice President Dick Cheney headed the company. The House also approved a resolution banning Halliburton from all new contracts until the bribery investigation is completed. The resolution requires the approval of the president to become law.
Nigerian officials refused to say whether the bribery scandal contributed to the president's decision to ban Halliburton from new contracts, the Associated Press reported.
In December 2002, Halliburton reported the disappearance of the two radioactive devices from its Nigerian operations, sparking fears of a terrorist attack. But the German government subsequently found the devices at a steel recycling plant in Bavaria, Germany. Halliburton angered the Nigerian government by refusing to return the devices to Nigeria. Instead the company exported the devices to the United States. Nigeria also complained that Halliburton refused to explain how the two devices ended up in Germany.
"We have only read this in media reports and have not received any notification from the Nigerian government," a Halliburton spokeswoman told Reuters. "We continue to work with the Nigerian government and are committed to getting this resolved," she said.
"We believe, in Nigeria and elsewhere, we have been inaccurately portrayed in the media, so it is not surprising that some people may have a misimpression of us," the spokeswoman concluded.
Reuters: Nigeria bars Halliburton contracts after theft
Associated Press: Nigeria banning Halliburton from government work
BBC: Halliburton hit with Nigeria ban
AllAfrica.com: Halliburton Barred From Receiving Contracts
HalliburtonWatch: Nigeria's government summons Halliburton CEO in bribe probe