By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday grilled a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), for his alleged role in the $182m Halliburton scandal.
It was learnt that Aondoakaa, who served as AGF under the late President Umaru Yar’adua, arrived the office of the EFCC around 10am and was grilled for about eight hours.
As of 7pm, he was still in EFCC custody, an indication that he may spend the night at the commission.
A source at the anti-graft agency said, “Aondoakaa has been in our custody since morning and has been answering questions on his alleged role in the Halliburton scandal. More details will be revealed later.”
Aondoakaa’s alleged involvement in the scandal could not be immediately ascertained as of press time.
However, he had been accused of frustrating investigations into the case during his time as the AGF between 2007 and 2010.
The Halliburton case relates to an alleged $182m contract involving a four-company joint venture to build a liquefied natural gas plant on Bonny Island.
Earlier in 2009, KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, agreed to pay $402m after admitting that it bribed Nigerian officials, and Halliburton paid $177m to settle allegations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting any wrongdoing.
In mid-December 2010, the case was settled when Nigeria agreed to drop the corruption charges against the company’s former boss, Dick Cheney (and former US Vice-President); and Halliburton in exchange for a settlement of over $200m settlement.
However, no Nigerian official involved in the scandal has been jailed.
The Office of the AGF under the leadership of Mohammed Adoke (SAN) set up a team of five lawyers which would ensure the swift recovery of the funds.
However, $26m was said to have been paid to the lawyers as legal fees to the lawyers under controversial circumstances.
The lawyers include a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu (SAN); Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), Mr. Damian Dodo (SAN) and Mr. Roland Ewubare, who have all been quizzed by the commission.