Defense contractor KBR has pleaded guilty on charges it bribed Nigerian government officials to obtain contracts there. The company will pay $579 million in fines, $402 million of which are criminal penalties.
According to the Justice Department, which announced the plea deal today, KBR won $6 billion in contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities in Nigeria between 1995 and 2004 by paying approximately $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials.
“The successful prosecution of KBR, and its agreement to pay a more than $400 million fine, demonstrates that no one is above the law,â€ said Rita M. Glavin acting assistant attorney general for the criminal division.
News of the settlement comes as the company is under investigation in connection to the electrocution of soldiers in Iraq due to shoddy construction work. At least 10 soldiers, two marines and two civilians have died as a result of KBRâ€™s electrical work there, according to my colleagues at Army Times.
Despite the accusations against KBR in the construction case and the admissions it made in the bribery case, the company has not been suspended or debarred form doing business with the government.
The Peanut Corporation of America, which allegedly covered up tests showing their products were tainted with salmonella, a move that resulted in the deaths of eight people, has been suspended from doing business with the government. It had just $4.3 million in government contracts since 2000, mostly related to school lunch programs. KBR has $5 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, mostly related to troop support in Iraq, according to USASpending.gov.