FOUR Britons charged with paying bribes to agents of the Rivers and Lagos states boards of inland revenues while working in Nigeria between 2008 and 2009 have had their trial set for June 7, 2013.
The suit was adjourned after the accused appeared yesterday for pre-trial hearing before Justice McCreath at the Southwark Crown courtroom 6 in London. Prior to being charged, the accused were investigated for about two years by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the City of London Police. SFO took over the investigations in early August 2010, after referral by the City of London Police.
The three men and one woman, all former executive employees of Swift Technical Energy Solutions Ltd – a Nigerian subsidiary of Swift Group of Companies, which employs over 3,000 contractors and provides manpower for the oil and gas industry in over 35 countries – will now face criminal charges beginning on June 7, after their lawyers agreed dates during Monday’s hearing.
The company’s former Chief Financial Officer, Paul Jacobs, ex-tax manager, Bharat Sodha, the former Financial Controller, Nidhi Vyas, and ex-Area Director of Swift in Nigeria, Trevor Bruce, are alleged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to have paid bribes of about £180,000 to Rivers and Lagos states’ officials during the period investigated, to either avoid, reduce or delay paying tax on behalf of workers placed by Swift.