This story has been around for a while, but I don't think we've discussed it here. The Australian company which makes polymer banknotes is under investigation for bribing Nigerian officials.
On Wednesday September 30, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua smiled and beamed as he launched the polymer currency notes for the country. But far away in Australia, crack detectives were reviewing case files in Canberra, making sense of which, and how many, Nigerian officials shared about 750 million Naira in bribe money from the Australian polymer company, Securency, to secure the contract to supply the polymer notes to the Nigerian government.
Top officials from the Nigerian presidency, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, have refused to comment on the scandal which was exposed last Friday by reporters of the The Age newspaper of Australia.
According to investigations, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are closing in on Securency International Pty Limited, The indications are that Securency paid out bribes to some Nigerian officials in order to win the contract which has now enabled them to supply at least 1.9 billion pieces of polymer notes so far.
Securency produces the press ready polymer substrate, Guardian®, on which bank notes are printed. Their breakthrough patent was first used in Australia in 1988. Since then, the Australian company has penetrated other countries, selling to them its patented product and urging a shift from the traditional paper money. The polymer note's selling point is in its advertised toughness, security features, and resistance to soiling, thus, its durability.
In 20 years, Securency has succeeded in spreading to over 20 countries. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, the company thrives on foreign contracts and claims that ‘90% of Securency's revenue comes from exports'.
Curiously, almost all these countries have been classified by the Australian Foreign Ministry as developing countries. Securency's Guardian® may be selling in developing countries but more than this, The Age deduces that these countries are also some of the most corruption-prone countries.
To read the complete article, see:
Millions in bribe paid for new bank notes
Wayne Homren, Editor
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