BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. November 6, 2022… Anti-corruption Watchdog, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has called on the United Kingdom and United States of America Governments to ensure that the £281million an equivalent of $314million fine which the UK subsidiary of Swiss mining giant, Glencore was ordered to pay by Southwark Crown Court for bribes in Nigeria and six other African countries was paid to the countries which are the victims of corruption in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, saying it is immoral to keep or spend the fine money in the UK.
Executive Director of ANEEJ and Vice Chairman of UNCACCOALITION, the Rev. David Ugolor in a swift reaction to the Southwark Crown Court judgement equally berated the Nigerian government for not instituting action in Nigeria against Glencore and the NNPC officials who collected over £12,111,889 to undermine Nigeria’s national interest as there was nowhere in the ten (10) page Victim Claim support document filed by Nigeria in the Southwark Crown Court that showed any action taken against the perpetrators neither did the country join in the suit to prosecute Glencore.
Rev Ugolor then called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria to swing into action to ensure that all officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), now NNPC Ltd who received the bribe money of £12,111,889 are fished out, prosecuted and jailed to serve as a deterrence to others.
Rev Ugolor while appreciating efforts of the UK anti-graft agencies for tracking the thieving Glencore officials and for the diligent prosecution of the case which has given the anti-corruption community this victory, however, called on the UK and US governments to send the fine money to Nigeria and other victim nations to demonstrate their commitment to act against international criminal gangs.
The ANEEJ helmsman also maintained that Nigerian and other African governments must ensure that officials of their National Oil Companies that colluded with staff of the UK and US subsidiaries of Glencore to commit economic crime against their nations are made to pay for their crimes.
“We welcome the landmark judgement against Glencore Energy (UK) which is the largest corporate penalty ever imposed by a UK Court and we believe that more of such effort by European and US Countries would help fight corruption in the global energy sector. However, we are disappointed that the court threw away the Victim’s Claim by Nigeria as every effort to fight bribery and corruption must ensure that proceeds, in this case fines, are made to benefit the victims of bribery, particularly in Africa where resource-rich countries are currently reeling under poverty as a result of activities of companies like Glencore. It is immoral to keep the fine money in UK,” Ugolor asserted.
“The whole world knows today that Oil theft is a big organized crime in Nigeria and other countries of the Gulf of Guinea. Since it takes two to tango, the UK and US must recognize the various international laws, treaties and agreements that provide for victims having to be the beneficiary of corruption cases. Nigeria and other African countries involved in this case have enough anti-corruption laws to prosecute officials of the NNPC who were the bribe takers. Our officials must not be silent on this case. They have to take it further and immediately too. This case has been on since 2012 and there was no much mention of it in Nigeria. Our government must swing into action because justice delayed is justice denied,” Ugolor demanded.
It will be recalled that Glencore Energy (UK) pleaded guilty in June to five counts of bribery and two counts of failure to prevent bribery under the UK Bribery Act 2010.