SIEMENS AG €12 MILLION SCANDAL: MORE QUESTIONS!
It appears a melodramatic twist has now been added to the story behind the allegations of €12 million bribe said to have been paid by Siemens AG, the German Communications giant to some prominent Nigerian politicians, top notch civil servants.
A careful analysis of the papers on which German prosecutors used to build their case before a Munich Court is revealing some serious inconsistencies with the structure of hierarchy in the Nigerian Communications Ministry, dates, titles and persons accused to have benefited from the €12 million bribery scandal.
Eduard Siedel, former chief Executive of Siemens in Nigeria had made actionable confessions to German prosecutors that he in concert with others distributed various sums to designated officials in Nigeria.
According to court papers detailing Siedel’s statement, he gave money to officials of Ministry of Telecommunications in Nigeria. There is no Ministry of Telecommunications in Nigeria. What exist in Nigeria is known as Federal Ministry of Communications. He also claimed that he gave money to David “Osakwe”Oyegun so called “State Secretary, Communications Ministry.” There is no such office in the Nigerians civil service structure particularly the Federal Ministry of Communications.
Another contradicting claim in the submission made before the court is in respect of the business consultants that assisted Siemens in the distribution of the bribe money. Two business consultants were mentioned, Apexpost Ltd and C.Woermann Gmbh. ApexPost Ltd is a U.K based company specializing in Imports and Exports with no known Nigerian address. The company has it office in Surrey and Harrow, both in the United Kingdom. C. Woermann, given as the second business consultant that gave money to unknown Nigeria officials, is a Hamburg based entity. In the same court paper, four people were listed as having served as “Ministers of Telecommunications” simultaneously. The court papers said General Olanrewaju, Dr. Mohammed Bello, Chief Cornelius Adebayo and Haruna Elewi served as Ministers of Telecommunications and Ministers of Communications the same year. An official of the Nigeria Code of Conduct Bureau told Pointblanknews.com on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, that “the claims submitted as evidence before the court in Munich as it were seem incongruous and at variance with the order and sequence of offices, persons and dates of their appointments and tenure of office.”
The official continued: “there is no way the four individual refer to in the court papers could have served concurrently as Ministers of the same portfolio, that is, Minister of Communications. I must also explain to you that if the party who gave the said narrative to German prosecutors had been present in Nigeria, he would know that there is no such thing as the Ministry of Telecommunication and State Secretary, Communications Ministry. What we have is the Ministry of Communications.”
The Munich Court had found Siemens AG guilty of misconduct and unethical contract dealings by allegedly offering bribes to “Bello Mohammed, Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Cornelius Adebayo, Alhaji Haruna Elewi, David Oyegun Osakwe, R. Olusanju, Samsun Olabiyi, Allahbamulafia, Dr. Mamza, Buba Bajonga, and Aliyu Datti.”
Pointblanknews.com decided to revisit the entire saga. What came out was shocking and unbelievable. The Nigerians listed as having benefited from the so called distribution of money by Siemens AG to gain undue economic edge in the Nigerian lucrative communications industry may not have known anything about the deal.
Going by investigation, Siemens AG may have falling victim of a well orchestrated and internationally coordinated swindle spanning two continents, Europe and Africa. Indeed, the entire deal may have originated from Eastern Europe.
Pointblanknews.com built the premise of its investigation on the persons and times of David Oyegun retired Nigerian civil servant, Cornelius Adebayo, pro-democracy activist, one time Governor of Kwara State and former Communications Minister between 2003 and 2006, Late Haruna Elewi, former Minister of State for Communications between 1999 and 2002, Buba Bajonga, Managing Director NITEL, and General Tajudeen Olarenwaju. Chief Oyegun served as the Director General of the Ministry of Communications from 1994 to 1996.
Officials at Siemens AG had said they distributed money between 2002 and 2004. That piece of information does not add up against the backdrop of the fact that David Oyegun was reappointed a Permanent Secretary in 1999 and was posted to the federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Old Secretariat, Garki Abuja. In 2001, Oyegun was redeployed to the Federal Ministry of Defence as Permanent Secretary. Finally, he was posted to General Service’s office as Permanent Secretary where he finally retired in 2002.
Also, David Oyegun’s middle name is written in the court papers as OSAKWE. He is from Edo State, Nigeria. The correct spelling of his name, therefore, would be OSAKUE as he is known at the various ministries where he served. His middle name as spelt in the court papers suggested he is from the Igbo speaking area of Eastern Nigeria.
General Adekunle Tajudeen Olanrewaju had served as Communication Minister from 1994 to 1997. The Siemens’s bribery scandal purportedly occurred between 2002 and 2004, five years after Olanrewaju had moved on.
Late Haruna Elewi was Minister of State for Communications from 1999 to 2002. He is no longer alive to shed more light on what role he played in the scandal.
However, Chief Cornelius Adebayo became Minister of Communications between July 2003 and August 2006. Court papers said Adebayo received bribe monies from “2002 to 2004 as Minister of Telecommunications.” He has since spoken up on the allegation of his involvement:
“ My attention has been drawn to media reports as it affects Siemens in Nigeria, wherein my name has been mentioned with the allegation of collecting bribe at some ‘unknown time after 2002’.
While the fact remains that I was Minister of Communications between July 2003 and August 2006, I wish to state very clearly that I never demanded, neither did I receive, bribe from officials of Siemens or of any other company in the discharge of my responsibilities.
I have had an unblemished career in the public service spanning almost four decades, I have a reputation for integrity and I am under no political pressure so I fail to understand what temptation remained that I could not overcome well after age 60.
It is gratifying that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has directed the security agencies to get to the root of this matter and I am confident that when that process is completed, this unjustified and unjustifiable stain will be removed from my hard-earned name. ”
Also, General Olanrewaju who is currently in London for medical treatment denied any knowledge of the scandal. In his own word: “"1 was a minister of communications between 1994 and -1997, and the report said I took the bribe on August 8, 2002, that sounds ridiculous as I was out of office five years earlier and was not in government neither was I in a position to award or influence the award of contracts in that ministry.”
“If the report said I took bribe of Euro 5,000 in 2002 and I was not a serving minister, such is libelous, wicked and damaging and was intended to ruin my good reputation as a prominent Lagosian and a distinguished Nigerian.”
Dr. Bello Mohammed through his media aide has this to say: strange and bewildering, but malicious, libelous and wicked evil designs by his political opponents. “ As for Mr Siedel, we can firmly says Dr. Mohammed has had no personal relationship with him other than at the official level as Minister of Communications,'”
He added that “the former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service and PDP chieftain, never met anyone by the name of Mr. Reinhard Siekaczek, mentioned in the court process.”
The identity of the people who collected the huge amount of money from Siemens AG remains questionable and very unclear. A Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau official who volunteered information said that there are two possibilities in respect of the possible identity of the crime. “One, Siemens agents may actually have given bribe to some people impersonating the various dignitaries identified as Ministers in Nigeria as was the case of Late Maurice Ibekwe, Fred Ajudua, Ade Bendel amongst others who had impersonated Nigerian Government officials to defraud foreigners of several Millions of Dollars in some of the biggest scam ever.”
“Another explanation could be that Siedel himself may have perpetrated some fraud against his employers and in an attempt to cover up his misdeeds tried to make others to take the wrap.” The Code of Conduct official said.
“Nevertheless, there is the possibility of scam artist using internet search engine to dig up the names of past and present officials in the Nigerian Communications Ministry whom they later impersonated to con Siemens AG. That would have been the explanation for the discrepancies in the titles, names and dates,” Spokesperson to the Nigeria’s Communications and Information Minister, Mr. Rotimi Ajayi said.
Ajayi noted that “people often steal and forge Government official letter head papers to spin every doubtful deal.”
It looks like a complex triple jeopardy for Siemens AG. Unknown individuals took money from them purportedly to soften the ground for juicy contracts in Nigeria. Secondly, it had to loose €12 pursuing non-existent Nigerian officials raising a serious possibility of a real scam. Finally, the company has suffered in terms of image and a heavy fine of €201 Million for unethical conduct.