Glencore bribery with NNPC officials: Nigerian, International CSOs petition UK Director of fraud, Justice Secretary seek more action
ABUJA, NIGERIA. December 8, 2022… Against the backdrop of last month’s sentencing of oil giant, Glencore UK Ltd to the tune of £280 million in financial penalties for bribery of Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) officials and similar corporations in five African countries, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice and a group of African and international civil society organisations have petitioned the United Kingdom Director of Serious Fraud Office Lisa Osofsky and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab calling on them to provide support to authorities in the five countries, to bring the corrupt officials to justice even as they want urgent reform of UK’s current compensation regime.
Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev David Ugolor and the group of Nigerian, African and International Civil Society Organisations in a letter to the Director of the Serious Fraud Office urged him to Commit to sending intelligence packages as provided for in Article 46(4) of the UNCAC, and providing support to authorities in the five countries where it is clear those authorities are likely to undertake credible criminal investigations into those who engaged in bribery.
“The people of Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan deserve to know who in their countries need to be held to account for receiving bribes from Glencore. This will enable journalists, civil society and the public to maintain pressure on authorities in these jurisdictions to undertake corresponding investigations,” the letter reads in part.
In a separate letter to Justice Secretary Dominic Raab the CSOs noted that despite the significant harms caused by Glencore’s bribery, no compensation was awarded to victims in Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan. The court rejected Nigeria’s application to intervene as a victim, and the Serious Fraud Office declined to seek a compensation order as this is only intended for “clear and simple” cases. This adds to a growing list of complex corruption cases where overseas victims have been overlooked because the UK’s compensation regime is not fit for purpose.
They urged the UK government to undertake a review of the current compensation regime and demanded that the Courts need to be empowered to order compensation in all cases, whether pursuant to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement or following a criminal conviction. The compensation regime, they noted, should adopt a broader definition of harm that recognises the financial, economic, environmental, and social damage caused by foreign bribery, and establish a methodology for assessing compensation in complex corruption cases.
“Compensation should be returned to those affected by corruption in line with the principles that the UK committed to at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR).2 These processes for return should be transparent, accountable and include consultation with non-governmental stakeholders to mitigate the risk of re-corruption. Independent monitoring and reporting processes should be implemented to ensure compensation is used to benefit the victims of corruption, including through the funding of anti-corruption efforts,” the CSOs stated