A former unit of US conglomerate Halliburton agreed to pay 579 million dollars in criminal and civil penalties to settle a long probe into bribery in Nigeria, US officials said Wednesday.
Authorities said the agreement represented the second largest fine ever in connection with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Kellogg Brown & Root LLC pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges related to “its participation in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials” to obtain contracts, the Justice Department said.
What else is new? KBR is still getting huge contracts from the US military in Iraq, while soldiers are being electrocuted by defective KBR-installed wiring. This is a familiar pattern. Big corporations get away with massive corruption by fingering a scapegoat and paying fines, then the corruption starts all over again. The article about the Nigerian payoffs neglects to point out that Dirty Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton while this scheme was being hatched. In how many companies can millions of dollars in bribes be paid without the knowledge of the CEO?
It is time for America to apply its enthusiasm for capital punishment to corporations. Corporation charters can not only be granted by government; they can be revoked. Congress should immediately pass legislation mandating the de-chartering and dissolution of any corporation whose officers have repeatedly been convicted of corrupt practices. This would do much more to reform our corruption-riddled country than the ritual wrist-slaps our courts are currently administering in the name of “justice.”