Former Willbros officials sentenced in Nigerian bribery case

A federal district judge in Houston sentenced two former Willbros International Inc. officials to federal prison terms and fines for their roles in a $6 million scheme to bribe Nigerian government and political party officials.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 2 -- A federal district judge in Houston sentenced two former Willbros International Inc. officials to federal prison terms and fines for their roles in a $6 million scheme to bribe Nigerian government and political party officials.

James Edward Steph and Jim Bob Brown previously pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from 2003 to 2005 while working for the Willbros Group Inc. subsidiary, according to Assistant US Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer of DOJ’s criminal division and John G. Perren, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office.

They said the scheme involved offering bribes to officials of Nigeria’s government and one of its political parties to assist the Houston oil field engineering and construction company in obtaining and retaining $387 million of contracts for the Eastern Gas Gathering System project.

Simeon T. Lake III, US District Judge for Texas’s southern district, sentenced Steph to 15 months in prison, followed by 2 years of supervised release during which he was ordered to pay a $1,000/month fine. Brown was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison, followed by a similar supervised release term and fine. Lake acknowledged at the sentencing the assistance provided by Brown in ongoing investigations.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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