Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Thursday, 6 December 2007

Nigeria suspends Siemens dealings

Siemens' office in Erlangen, Germany
Siemens faces allegations of corruptions in Nigeria

Nigeria has cancelled a contract with Siemens and suspended dealings with the German telecoms firm pending an investigation into bribery allegations.

Siemens was found guilty of paying bribes to Nigerian officials and fined 201m euros ($248m; 122.3m) by a Munich court on 4 October.

A Nigerian anti-corruption agency has since begun investigating former ministers alleged to have taken bribes.

Nigeria has often been ranked as one of the world's most corrupt countries.

President Umaru Yar'Adua took office in May this year, pledging to fight corruption.

Mr Yar'Adua ordered the investigation into allegations that Siemens paid 10m euros in bribes to officials, including ministers, in Nigeria between 2001 and 2004. The ministers and officials named have denied the allegations.

The Nigerian government cancelled a 128.4m naira ($1.1m; 532,683) contract with Siemens for the supply of circuit breakers and other power generation accessories on Wednesday.

President Yar'Adua's campaign poster
President Yar'Adua came to power promising to combat corruption

"Council cancelled the contract bid won by Siemens Nigeria because of the current investigation against the company relating to corrupt practices," information and communications minister John Odey said.

"Government will not have any dealings with Siemens Nigeria in terms of contracts until the investigation is concluded and the company is exonerated or otherwise," Mr Odey said.

Siemen's chairman and chief executive both quit over the scandal.

At least two employees were given suspended sentences for bribery and breach of trust.

Siemens has accepted the Munich court judgement and has also agreed to pay 179m euros to the tax authorities.

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