A Paris court has fined French electronics firm Safran 500,000 euros for bribing Nigerian officials in order to win a multi-million euro contract to make identity cards, a report said.
According to the report the court found that SAGEM, the company that merged with SNECMA to form Safran in 2005, had paid bribes between 22,000 to 38,000 euros to government officials in order to secure the 171 million euro contract.
In 2005, then President Olusegun Obasanjo had blown the whistle on the company revealing that they had paid bribes and presented gifts, including Rolex watches. The report alleged that the firm had attempted to bribe the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Sunday Afolabi, millions of dollars to secure the deal.
Afolabi was arrested on December 5, 2003 by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on allegations of corruption, the Vanguard reported.
He reportedly stood trial along side his successor in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mr. Mohammed Shata, former Labour Minister Hussain Akwanga and others who were also charged with demanding bribes worth about N320 million ($2 million) from SAGEM.
The accused persons were granted bail on December 31, 2003, Afolabi died in May of the following year and in June the charges were dropped against him.
The fine targets the company, but the court is dropping charges against two former SAGEM executives, Jean-Pierre Delarue, sales manager in Nigeria at the time and Francois Perrachon, the former director for identification systems.
However, Safran has said it will appeal the decision.