Rolls-Royce Entangled In Nigeria’s Corruption Investigation


Report from the Financial Times says Britain’s corruption investigation into world’s second largest engines maker Rolls-Royce has been expanded to also look at the company’s activities in Nigeria.

President Buhari’s visit to the British Anti-Corruption Summit has obviously pulled attentions into international business aspects where there maybe probable corruption practices in Nigeria – other African countries as well.

As part of a broader corruption investigation that includes other countries like Brazil, China and Indonesia, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is looking at the company’s former energy activities in Nigeria. The Business newspaper, however, did not close its source of the information.

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The Financial Times (FT) added that the SFO investigation borders on whether Rolls-Royce and its agents had engage in any bribery of government officials in Nigeria (and the other nations) until 2013 when tenders were launched for the construction of energy infrastructure.

Statements from an SFO spokesman via email said:

“We are aware of the story but can neither confirm nor deny our interest in these specific allegations. Our investigation continues.” 

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce stressed it was cooperating with authorities around the world over the matter.  A company spokesman said:

“Concerns about bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in a number of overseas markets remain subject to examination by the SFO and other authorities.

“We are co-operating with the authorities. We do not comment on the subject of ongoing investigations nor on the countries in which those investigations are being conducted.

“We have made it clear that Rolls-Royce will not tolerate business misconduct of any kind.”

London-listed Rolls-Royce had meanwhile sold its energy production arm to Germany’s Siemens in 2014 for 950 million euros. In midday deals, Rolls’ share price fell almost three percent in value on London’s falling stock market.

KeplerCheuvreux analyst, Christophe Menard said:

“This is negative and an unfortunate development for Rolls-Royce, as the investigation is now understood to expand rather than shrink.

“In addition, it covers both the aerospace (in China and Indonesia) and energy (in Nigeria and Brazil) divisions, hinting at some potential past malpractices across the organisation. Financial implications of the SFO investigation are unclear at this stage, but there is also reputational damage at play.”

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The troubled British company, which makes engine systems for aircraft and sea vessels, has been slashing costs after issuing a string of profit warnings over the last two years. And the company has been hit by cancelled orders from customer since the plunge in oil price.