Rolls-Royce faces Nigeria corruption probe

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Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is currently investigating Rolls Royce, a British company, and Victor Ochei, former speaker of the Delta state house of assembly.According to Financial Times, investigators are trying to establish if the company bribed Nigerian officials for energy deals, and to also find out the role Ochei played in the $100 million deal involving Oghareki power plant, an uncompleted project in Delta.

The contract was awarded to Davnotch Nigeria, a company founded by Ochei.

The newspaper said Norbert Osodi, Davnotch’s managing director, claimed that the company was not aware of the SFO investigation.

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He reportedly said Davnotch had won the Oghareki tender through proper processes, adding that past allegations of corruption against the project were “not credible” and had been mounted by Ochei’s political enemies.

Osodi said there was no conflict of interest between Ochei’s simultaneous holdings of a majority shareholding in Davnotch and his political seat, because the parliamentary position was part-time.

Ochei divested his interest in Davnotch in June 2011, when he became speaker.

FT said attempts to reach Ochei were unsuccessful. Neither he nor the Delta state government responded to requests for comment submitted through their websites.

A Nigerian company called PSL Engineering & Control allegedly acted for Rolls-Royce on projects to supply gas turbines to power plants in Bayelsa and Delta states.

A PSL official who answered the phone at the company’s Lagos headquarters said he was not aware of any investigation, but Rolls Royce said it was co-operating with relevant authorities.

“We have made it clear that Rolls-Royce will not tolerate business misconduct of any kind,” it said.

Warren East, the chief executive appointed in July, 2015, has said unethical behaviour will not be tolerated and the group has cut the number of third-party agents used abroad significantly over the past few years.

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