Calgary energy firm facing corruption charge heads to court

Griffiths Energy has been charged with corrupting a foreign official in Africa.

January 22, 2013   by The Canadian Press

CALGARY—A Calgary energy firm will appear in court Tuesday on a charge of corrupting a foreign official over its activities in the African country of Chad.

Privately-held Griffiths Energy International revealed last week that it had been charged under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, which prohibits bribery.

The charges resulted from an internal investigation the company conducted on itself, the results of which were turned over to the RCMP.

According to documents on its website, Griffiths’ previous management and board of directors entered into two consulting contracts with companies owned by foreign public official and his wife.

Current management, appointed in September 2011, discovered the contracts the following November and began looking into them. In May 2012, the results of that investigation were shared with US and Canadian authorities.

Griffiths was charged on Jan. 15. It has said it expects a negotiated settlement of the matter.

Brad Griffiths, the company’s chairman and co-founder, died in a boating accident in Ontario’s cottage country in July 2011. It happened that the groundwork had already been laid for a new management team to step in around that time.

The company said it believes it is the first Canadian resource company to have conducted and reported such an investigation into its own activities.

In June 2011, another Calgary-based energy company, Niko Resources Ltd., was fined $9.5 million for bribing a Bangladeshi state energy minister with access to a luxury vehicle and a trip to New York.

©The Canadian Press

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