21 April 2015, Lagos – A French firm and leading player in marine services for offshore oil and gas industry, Bourbon has launched an investigation against its officials over bribery allegations in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.
This comes as the company, which operates in Nigeria as Bourbon Interoil Nigeria confirmed at the weekend that its crew boat, the Surfer 1440, was boarded off the Nigerian coast in the night of April 8, 2015 and three crew members of Nigerian nationality kidnapped.
The investigation followed the arrest of the former Tax Manager of the company at the airport of Marseille-Provence, while he was returning from Africa in possession of approximately 190,000 euros in cash in October 2012.
Following the incident, a judicial investigation was initiated in Marseille, according to weekend statement by the company.
“This investigation relates in particular to allegations of bribery of public officials in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria in connection with the tax audits of local entities in 2011 and 2012. The former Tax Manager, who had been immediately dismissed since then, has been placed under formal investigation, in particular for bribery of foreign public officials. As a consequence, the legal entity Bourbon SA has today been placed under formal investigation for the same charge, together with a guarantee of 1 million euros,” said the statement.
The company added that pursuant to this procedure, after the former Tax Manager was placed under formal investigation, some members of the Executive Management were placed under formal investigation in April and November 2013 for complicity in bribery.
“BOURBON and its Executive Management contest very strongly the charges brought against them, and it is noted that they are entitled to the presumption of innocence and will reserve their explanations for the judicial authorities,” the statement added.
The company also stated that it operates in complex environments, while its activities are carried out in strict compliance with the laws of each country.
Bourbon added that it attaches great importance to compliance with anti-bribery regulations. “Moreover, these events have encouraged the group to strengthen its policies, procedures and training programs in relation to ethics and compliance and in particular those regarding the fight against bribery,” the company.
In 2014, Bourbon celebrated the delivery of the 500th vessel, placing the group at the head of the world’s largest fleet of vessels operated1 for the offshore marine services industry
Bourbon announced the entry into service of the 500th vessel – the Bourbon Evolution 806, the sixth vessel of the first series of IMR2 vessels for the offshore industry.
With the arrival of the vessel, Bourbon thus ranks among the world’s leading groups for the offshore marine services industry.
“We are delighted with the delivery of this 500th vessel, which reflects our commitment to provide the means to continue our development and to best serve the needs of our clients. We are now realizing the fruits of seeds sown over several years when we invested in a series of standardized vessels to achieve a global leadership position in our market,” said the Chief Operating Officer, Gael Bodénès.
Bourbon at the weekend confirmed that a crew boat, the Surfer 1440, was boarded off the Nigerian coast and the three crew members of Nigerian nationality kidnapped.
An emergency unit based in Nigeria has since been immediately activated, while Bourbon Interoil Nigeria is in contact with the families of the victims.
– This Day