INVESTIGATION: The Mystery Man of Nigeria’s $182million Halliburton Bribery Scam

Mystery Man

Who is Abu Shuaibu?

That is a question reporters from PREMIUM TIMES and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have battled for months to unravel. They haven’t succeeded.

The man’s name keeps popping up like mushrooms in the leaked records from HSBC, a huge global bank based in London, which has now been exposed for its role in acting as conduit for bribes and other illicit businesses.

Just plug in Jeffrey Tesler into the data, obtained by the French newspaper Le Monde and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and Mr. Shuaibu’s name will rush to the surface.

Mr. Tesler is the U.K. lawyer, who used a network of secretive banks and offshore tax havens to funnel $182 million in bribes to top Nigerian officials in exchange for a $6 billion contract to build Nigeria’s liquefied natural gas company.

The leaked file show strong financial ties between Mr. Tesler and Mr. Shuaibu, and suggested both, along with other Nigerian individuals, corporations and at least a political party, may have worked together while the U.K. lawyer was engaged in the infamous bribery scheme.

The HSBC files identify Mr. Shuaibu, along with retired General Chris Garuba (a former governor of Bauchi State, former Commandant of the National War College, and  former Commander of UN forces in Angola) and his wife Rita, as HSBC clients.

Their names are listed along with Mr. Tesler’s in an account named Bridlington Enterprises Limited, a Gibraltar-based shell company for which Mr. Tesler acted as attorney.

The records show that the account, for which Mr. Shuaibu was identified as beneficial owner, was opened the year before Mr. Tesler sent his first bribe payment to Switzerland, although the files do not show that Mr. Tesler transferred money into the Bridlington account, which held as much as $367,547 in 2006 or 2007.

But while Messrs Tesler, Chris and Rita Garuba are well known, very little is known about Mr. Shuaibu, although bank documents identify him as a real estate dealer  and consistently gave his address as P.O. Box 53322, Ikoyi WAN-Lagos.

Yet it was the 65-year-old who effectively ran Bridlington’s accounts, repeatedly visiting HSBC in Switzerland, and making several withdrawals in cash. On one occasion – on November 11, 2005 – he visited the bank to request a transfer of 600,000 U.S. dollars. It is not clear to whom the money was sent.

The leaked files have provided fresh insight into Nigerians who worked with or had link with Mr. Tesler while he wired bribes to Nigerian officials.

Investigators in Nigeria and the United States, who investigated what is now infamously known as the Halliburton bribery scam, were unable to identify Mr. Shuaibu, the Garubas and another individual, Andrew Agom (a senior government official and chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (who was killed in an attack on a motorcade), as business associates of Mr. Tesler.

But the HSBC files have clearly established the financial links between the individuals.

However, our efforts in the past months to track down Mr. Shuaibu or establish his real identity have so far been unsuccessful. The Abu Shuaibus we ended up identifying and contacting turned out to be different from that of Mr. Tesler’s record.

The Garubas, who could have provided a clue – since they shared ownership of Bridlington with him – did not respond to requests for comments by ICIJ and PREMIUM TIMES.

At 6.25p.m. on Wednesday, February 11, Rita, who runs the Abuja-based law firm, Temple Chambers, answered the phone but abruptly terminated the call after listening to our enquiry. She did not answer subsequent calls.

Mr. Tesler too did not respond to ICIJ’s requests for comment.

halliburton

Mr. Tesler was sentenced to 21 months in prison and he forfeited $149 million from his Swiss accounts to the U.S. government for serving as the go-between for bribes paid to secure contracts for KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary, and the other consortium members, the Japanese firm JGC Corporation, Paris-based Technip, as well as Italy’s ENI S.p.A. and its Dutch subsidiary Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V.

The forfeited money is still to be paid.

Between 2009 and 2011, the consortium members paid penalties totaling more than $1.5 billion for their role in the bribery scheme. Two KBR officials who had worked with Mr. Tesler, Wojciech Chodan and Albert (Jack) Stanley, KBR’s former chairman and CEO, were sentenced to one year of probation and 30 months in prison, respectively.
Dick Cheney.

Mr. Cheney had been chairman and chief executive of Halliburton, the parent company of KBR, for five years — from 1995 to 2000 — before becoming U.S. vice-president in 2001.

Mr. Cheney’s lawyer has asserted repeatedly that his client was not involved. “The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated that joint venture extensively and found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role of CEO of Halliburton,” attorney Terrence O’Donnell wrote in a 2010 statement to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Tesler, now 66, has served his sentence and returned to England, where he told authorities he would “spend the last few years, which God may graciously grant me, to seek forgiveness.”

In Nigeria, anti-corruption campaigners continue to call on authorities to identify and prosecute Nigerian citizens involved in the scandal. While never publicly released, a 2010 Nigerian government document reportedly included three Nigerian presidents, a vice-president, a minister, intelligence chiefs and corporate titans in a list of bribery beneficiaries. The report did not name the Garubas, and Messrs Agom and Shuaibu.

“In terms of the personalities and the amount of money involved, it is probably the biggest scandal in Nigeria’s history,” Dauda Garuba, Nigeria coordinator at the Natural Resource Governance Institute, said in an interview with ICIJ. (Dauda Garuba has no connection to the Garuba family in the HSBC files.)

“But although we’ve seen the indictment and conviction of foreign companies and their top executives in Europe and America,” Mr. Garuba said, “Nigeria’s own government has not taken action in the very country in which the corruption took place.”

If you have any information about Abu Shuaibu, please contact PREMIUM TIMES through newsroom@premiumtimesng.com or leave comments below this post

Contributors to this story: Will Fitzgibbon


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  • tyson

    THE ENTIRE SPACE IS QUIET CAUSE THE CASE INVOLVES OBJ AND HIS FULANI BROTHERS DANCE BAND

    • Repeater Station

      “In Nigeria, the pauperized many have sent a memo to the
      criminally-rich few: ‘We will not allow you to enjoy your ill-gotten gains in
      peace. We will hound you and pursue you everywhere you go. When you buy your
      Hummers, we will snatch them”.

      When you send your children to expensive schools, we will kidnap
      them. When you retreat to your billion-naira homes, you will have to sleep with
      one eye open. With every knock, you will panic and tremble, fearing it could be
      nemesis at the door”.

      ………Femi Aribisala

      (August 27, 2013)

  • yusuf

    The ECWA President: Ahead of the forthcoming elections, National President of
    Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Rev Jeremiah Gado, has handed down a
    warning to members of the church not to vote for politicians that kill, and
    destroy places of worship, or those that sponsor hoodlums to do so.

    On the current attacks on churches in the North-east by Boko
    Haram, the cleric said: “Sometimes I tend to think it’s political; indeed an
    attempt to discredit President Jonathan’s government, to make him look so bad,
    so that people don’t vote for him.”

    • Hassan Lawal

      My dear,N6 Billion is a lot of money and it can do wonders,it even made a whole Pastor Oyedepo go gaga.You think its easy? then ,think again! All those pastors have collected monies and they are finding justifications to convince their followers not to vote for Buhari.

      • dd

        Oyedepo is too rich to collect 6billion. Never follow lies. Anyway, thank God he did not use his own to buy arm. However all the Hassan and Lawal keep using their money to sponsoring Boko Boko.

  • Eze1

    Are you sure it is not a pseudoname

  • absam777

    Ask Jonathan. He knows a lot about Corruption.

    • Dazmillion

      Bros you are wrong, Jonathan only knows about stealing which by the way is not corruption.

      • warry

        You need brain transplant or you will forever remain useless

    • Ha

      Yes his PhD is on corruption.

      • DD

        His PhD thesis is titled “How to Defend & Propagate Corruption in both Animal & Human Kingdom in 21st Century and Beyond.”

  • Scalywag

    Or ask senate president Mark. They’re the wheelers and dealers

  • warry

    Ask Mr Tessler, to give the details of his Nigerian counterparts. Did he not name them during his trial?

  • ahmad

    If you ask Jonathan he will only force the corruption case to be postpone. That’s all for security reasons.

  • This is ordinary bribery, its neither stealing nor corruption. So I don’t give a damn.

  • Ola Onanugaola

    General Chris Garuba = Abu Shuaibu

    Abu Shuaibu = General Chris Garuba

    Remember how easy it is to get Nigerian passport with fake names!!!!!

  • FortB

    Who was President in 2005? Abeg make una Ask Obasanjo the only sanctimonious man in Nigeria. Hahahaha

  • dd

    The Hausa name of Obasanjo is called Abu. Olusegu in Fulani means Shuaibu. The P.O Box is the secret code for Otta farm.

  • Emancipation

    PDP and all they stand for, that’s why they have umbrella as logo.

  • blueeyedkitten

    Halliburton, the biggest scam in nigeria’s history? don’t think so. that money is not even enough to hire jets, or is it drones, for our petroleum minister.

  • Indi

    Nigeria: This house has fallen

    Nigerians have become thieves for the most part; either by stealing directly
    or by coyly abetting stealers of the treasury in the name of a political party.
    You’ll never hear Professor Itse Sagay, Professor Soyinka or Femi Falana
    as examples, demand public accountability from the APC party in Lagos state.
    Radicalism is now hypocrisy in Nigeria; as no radical inheres there with truth.

    No country led by rabble-rousers disguised as radicals ever made progress.
    History shows that such financially raped countries implode in fighting fires.
    Nigeria will not be an exception; with stealing now overarching public office.
    The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Nigerian Bar Association look away
    – as worse than useless twin organizations in a country in the distress of thefts.

    • The Questioner

      WELL SAID, SIR – MAY YOUR TRIBE INCREASE. NONE OF THE THREE SUPPOSED
      BUT FAKE RADICALS YOU CITED HAS EVEN HAD THE MORAL COURAGE, OR THE
      THE HONESTY OF MIND, TO ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTION IN PUBLIC INTEREST:

      • Deolu Harper (Lagos)

        @ Indi:

        Thank you for your honest comment. I also like to thank the Editors of Premium Times.
        Without Premium Times this Halliburton scandal would be swept under the carpet.
        In fact, President Jonathan lost governing reputation for suppressing Halliburton scandal.
        From then on Jonathan has fallen from grass to infamy like an accessory after the bribe.

        General Olusegun Obasanjo was mentioned as the principal suspect in these bribes by U.S probe.
        So also was General Abdulsalam Abubakar – another former head of state. Mentioned along both
        was Alhaji M.D Yussuf (ex Inspector-General of Police) to show how fish rots from the head in Nigeria
        If such criminal activity with conspiracy takes place at that highest level of government, Nigeria is gone.

        Luckily, the slender hope to bring these criminals to justice is that no time runs against the crimes.
        If President Jonathan is morally compromised, a replacement revolutionary government is needed.
        Nigeria cannot live with these criminal ex-heads of state and expect to ever move forward without justice.
        All persons indicted; including General Obasanjo and General Abdulsalam must be brought to justice.

        • Tom-Lawyer

          Stealing kills a country faster than cancer kills an individual.

          ………Seyi Olu Awofeso

          • Repeater Station

            “In Nigeria, the pauperized many have sent a memo to the
            criminally-rich few: ‘We will not allow you to enjoy your ill-gotten gains in
            peace. We will hound you and pursue you everywhere you go. When you buy your
            Hummers, we will snatch them”.

            When you send your children to expensive schools, we will kidnap
            them. When you retreat to your billion-naira homes, you will have to sleep with
            one eye open. With every knock, you will panic and tremble, fearing it could be
            nemesis at the door”.

            ………Femi Aribisala

            (August 27, 2013)

          • Andy Enebichi

            But how do Nigerians feel reading that they are being robbed on a daily basis like this
            by their elected officials? “I am surprised Nigerians are not angrier than they show,”
            Nelson Mandela remarked a few years ago. “It may be that stealing is now ingrained in
            Nigerians culture,”
            a top North American official was earlier quoted saying in 2001.

            “The name of Nigeria is now corruption,” said Prelate Adebayo, who projects a
            bloody revolution soon as a result of this. Foreigners keep their distance meanwhile,
            waiting for Nigerians to decide for themselves if they want to continue living as thieves
            amongst thieves. Afterall, no one can force a horse to drink anymore than any country
            can force Nigerians to stop stealing or taking bribes in violation of their country’s laws.

        • Willie

          “Men and women who want to be of use to themselves and humanity must have
          good character. The greatest prop to character is ‘honesty’. Honesty is the best policy.
          Let no one believe that you are dishonest. If they believe you are dishonest you are doomed.
          You will never be able to rise to a position of respect and trust – except by some mere accident.”

          ……….Marcus Garvey
          (Black American Nationalist)

          • Ademola G.

            “The only way to stop us from stealing is to stone us. The Nigerian followers
            are as guilty as the Nigerian leaders. The Nigerian institutions are all compromised
            and there is no alternative to them as it is. Nigerians appear not to be against stealing
            and corruption but only against how long you stay stealing and being corrupt.
            Don’t ever expect those in public office to fight corruption on these facts.”

            ….…..Governor Rotimi Amaechi
            (Rivers state)

            (June 30th, 2014)

          • Des Rees

            @ Governor Rotimi Amaechi

            No, no, people who do not mind being robbed barefacedly do not belong to humanity.
            Official theft means the criminal conversion of public assets to private property.
            It does not matter what Nigeria as a country earns, official theft will undo the
            country into deeper poverty.

            170 million million Nigerians will continue to suffer on the fringe of life,
            whilst half a million steal the treasury to live in opulence. Official theft
            is a zero-sum game; and worse than that, by arithmetic progression,
            official theft will sooner or later strip Nigeria of existential means.

            As acute scarcity of public goods results, deadly violence shall be unleashed by
            those hard done by as a matter of necessity. That means exile is the only option
            for all official thieves. They can’t enjoy the stolen wealth amid angry and murderous
            populace under any set of rational assumptions. It’s as simple as that.

    • thusspokez

      And how do they get away with it? Of course through your support.
      If it is (say) a Yoruba involved, he would that he is arrested
      because he is a Yoruba man; — same for other ethnic groups. And
      of course, their tribes-people like you will back them and threaten to
      breakup Nigeria if he or she is not released.

      “The Nigerian Labour Congress”

      The NLC is a disappointment. Perhaps their leaders are as corrupt
      as the politicians.

      In many countries, the union acts like an opposition to whichever
      government is in power. They put pressure on the government to bring
      about change; create jobs; improve workers rights; improve health and
      safety at the workplace; housing, pay. Where is the NLC in all these?

  • Sammy Charles

    Our Jerry Rawlings will soon come, Obansanjo can’t escape the hangman

    • Words on Marble

      General Olusegun Obasanjo was mentioned as the principal suspect in these bribes by U.S probe.
      So also was General Abdulsalam Abubakar – another former head of state. Mentioned along both
      was Alhaji M.D Yussuf (ex Inspector-General of Police) to show how fish rots from the head in Nigeria
      If such criminal activity with conspiracy takes place at that highest level of government, Nigeria is gone.
      Nigeria cannot live with these criminal ex-heads of state and expect to move forward, without justice.
      All persons indicted; including General Obasanjo and General Abdulsalam must be brought to justice.

      …………………Deolu Harper

      (February 12th, 2015)

      • Nkem

        Ah, ah, so why worry now about who is “MR.SHUAIBU” – a fugitive from justice,
        when you already know both Obasanjo and Abdulsam by face and by name?

  • trippi

    Baba navigator should be the right person to answer these questions. Oya Make una begin go Ota…

  • naso

    “Some people call themselves statesmen but they are NOT statesmen
    They are just ordinary politicians. For you to be a statesman it is not because you
    have occupied a big office before but the question is:
    what are you bringing to bear?
    Are you building this country or are you a part of the people who tell lies to destroy this country,
    to create enmity and make people who ordinarily would have been living together, fight themselves?

    Are you planning to set the country ablaze because you did not get that particular thing you want?
    Hiding under some big names and creating a lot of problems in this country, making provocative
    statements in this country – statements that will set this country ablaze – and you tell me you are
    a senior citizen. You are NOT a senior citizen; you can never be. You are an ordinary motor park tout.”

    ………..President Goodluck Jonathan

    (January 7th, 2014)

  • Naso

    Some people call themselves statesmen but they are NOT statesmen
    They are just ordinary politicians. For you to be a statesman it is not because you
    have occupied a big office before but the question is: what are you bringing to bear?
    Are you building this country or are you a part of the people who tell lies to destroy this country,
    to create enmity and make people who ordinarily would have been living together, fight themselves?

    Are you planning to set the country ablaze because you did not get that particular thing you want?
    Hiding under some big names and creating a lot of problems in this country, making provocative
    statements in this country – statements that will set this country ablaze – and you tell me you are
    a senior citizen. You are NOT a senior citizen; you can never be. You are an ordinary motor park tout.

    ………..President Goodluck Jonathan

    (January 7th, 2015)

    • Igbenoi

      Editor Premium Times

      This matter is very serious. There must be a court trial of all the Nigerians indicted on it.
      America has jailed the white people involved. It is now Nigeria’s turn to show common sense.
      Nigeria will lose respect in the international community if it fails to act without much further delay.
      International law forbids what President Jonathan does by sitting on his hands on this Halliburton bribery.

      • The Nigeria Future Project

        Nigeria show common sense – what an oxymoron. Nigeria “will” lose respect in the international community – Nigerian already lost respect of the international community. That happened after GEJ denied the kidnapping of the Chibok girls and Patience performed political theater.

  • Majek tunde

    Wetin I won join? Una don join am finish

  • Rose Ankeny

    The devil came in the disguise of PDP to ruin this country. No amount of crossing over to APC will save them. Thank God for APC,thank God for Buhari. Nigeria would definitely charter a new course

  • Tekpemekpe

    Is it Nigeria’s $182million or Niger Delta’s $182million?

    I hope the reporter called Musikilu MojeedI who wrote this report is still ok? I just hope so.

  • Wapa

    @ Editor,

    I don’t want to contribute to this discussion until i know why this page
    is purposely darkened by Premium Times Editors. It is strange to me.

  • samuel

    These tyrants and thugs called APC will start blaming jonathan. Jonathan inherited a decaying Nigeria and he is trying to revive it all together. Vote GEJ, vote transformation

    • The Nigeria Future Project

      but he said if cannot fix it in four years even if he was given 100 years he would be able to fix it. Five years later now he is asking for more time? Nigeria does not have 100 years for him to continue failing. March4Buhari

  • kanmi

    PRESIDENT JONATHAN DOES NOT NEED TO WAIT FOR HIS 2ND TERM
    TO PROSECUTE THE KNOWN HALLIBURTON BRIBE-TAKERS IN NIGERIA.
    THERE ARE ENOUGH INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION TO PROSECUTE.
    ONCE ELECTIONS ARE DONE ON MARCH 28, ARRESTS SHOULD START.

    • nkem

      @kanmi:

      Don’t mind Jonathan, why does he need worry about who “MR.SHUAIBU” is – a fugitive from justice;
      when he knows both Generals Obasanjo and Abdulsalam by face and name, as two main suspects?

      • Aso Rock

        Jonathan disgraced himself by sitting on his hands over corruption.
        A man that could have been lauded as exceptional will now go down in
        history as the most vile abettor of corruption in Nigeria. What a shame!
        How can someone with his own hands destroy himself and his surname,
        by being so careless and blind to the verdict of history, as Jonathan does?

        • Invitro

          Jonathan lost his marbles when by mis-thinking he can come out smelling like roses
          by entering into a 5-year debate with 170 million Nigerians on a simple charge that he is
          not seen fighting but abetting corruption – since nobody can win such argument against
          a whole country; a simple fact his appointed aides and advisers should have pointed out
          in the last five years when Jonathan adamantly hit his head against the wall in vain, and,
          in self-disgrace, if only his empty-headed aides and advisers have the spirit of truth.

    • The Nigeria Future Project

      he is waiting to install the technology first before he takes action

  • Fola

    ABU Shuaibu may not be his real name