5 September 2012

Nigeria: French Firm Fined for Bribing Officials

The French electronics firm Safran has been fined 500,000 euros for bribing Nigerian officials in order to win a multi-million euro contract to make identity cards.

A Paris court found SAGAM, a company that merged with SNECMA to form Safran in 2005, paid bribes worth between 22,000 to 38,000 euros to Nigerian officials from 2000 and 2003 to secure a 171 million euro contract.

The court condemned the company for endorsing the payments, but dropped charges against two former SAGAM executives: Jean-Pierre Delarue, then a sales manager in Nigeria, and François Perrachon, the former director for identification systems.

Safran says in a statement it would appeal against the decision.

The case came to light in 2005, when former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo says Sagem paid bribes and presented gifts, including Rolex watches.

The prosecution alleged Sagem sent millions of dollars to high-ranking Nigerian officials including the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Sunday Afolabi.

It is rare for firms to be fined in France for corruption in a foreign country.

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