(You have heard Griffiths’ story, now this is my story)
Life is a school! Sometimes we learn, sometimes we teach and sometimes we do both. Recently, The Canadian Oil Company Griffiths herself guilty of corrupting me and my wife. I am here to make some clarifications because people, particularly those who know me and my wife, started asking, what happened? I will make it clear and short and let the reader reaches his or her own conclusions.
For those who do not know my wife Nouracham Bechir Niam, She is not just a domestic house woman; she is one of the most prominent female figures in Chad. Doctoral degree (PhD) of education from Howard University of the United States (scheduled graduation in 2013), Master’s degree in Education from California State University, Monterey Bay, California, 2003. Bachelor’s degree of education (with honors) from the University of Khartoum, Sudan 1992. Key person for the non-governmental ODI organization, drafting plans and submitting to donors for funding, monitoring donor- recipient relations, deputy director for non-governmental organizations in the Ministry of Planning of Chad, Associate professor at the University of N’djamena (where she taught classes of 100s American literature, candidate for the first parliamentary elections in the 2ieme arrondossement facing the strong ruling party’s candidate Soungui Ahmat, Voluntary teacher for illiterate women as (Saida)…..ect, who doesn’t know Nouracham in Chad?!
According to the Chadian law, my wife and all wives and relatives of diplomats or other officials have the full right for private business as far as they avoid conflict of interest.
My wife has a work permit from the US Government as a dependant of a foreign diplomat. She created her own consulting firm to bring investors in Chad. Griffiths was not the only firm she introduced to Chad, but it was the most successful deal she got.
She negotiated and signed a consulting contract with Griffith Energy International. She was successful in convincing the two parties (the Chadian Government and the Company) to sign a memorandum of understanding and a final production sharing agreement entitling her for her two million dollars. Because Griffith was a new company, the Chadian Petroleum Ministry wouldn’t trust its financial and technical capabilities. What is wrong with that? It was her absolute right .If her visions lead her to invest this income in the same company to purchase shares as one of the founders of Griffiths Energy International, what is wrong with that? If the company becomes so successful that her shares today worth more than $60 million dollars and subject to increase up to hundreds of millions as the company starts production, what is wrong with that? Allah even gives more, gives paradise!!!
This was a simple business deal and she had the full right even the mandate to do so, from where the word corruption came? It was purely and simply a blind jalousie, racism and sexism! That was too much for her, for a woman from Africa. The assumption is that there should be a man behind her, her husband! Let us make our own (Griffiths investigation and plea guilty and pay the $10.3 million Dollars fine then we will recover it from her shares which worth way more! I believe that was their thinking and expect that they will go vigorously after her share; that is the whole point!
For a corruption to occur there should be at least certain elements:
1- Competitively; were there more than one company interested in those blocs when they were awarded to Griffiths? No, Griffiths was the only company interested.
2- Did Griffiths pay less than market prices and got particular facilities? No, Griffiths’ deal was the best ever of its kind for Chad.
3- Was the Ambassador part of the managing team of the Petroleum Ministry, Blocs’ allocation commission or even has any influence what so ever in granting the blocs to Griffiths? No, so how about his wife! Griffiths itself admitted that the Ambassador did not play any influence. How come, a corruption without influence?! You cannot eat your bread and have it!
The company did its part (made herself investigation, plead guilty and paid the fine), and Canada did its part as well (Accepted the story and accepted the suggested fine). Now what Chad is going to do? I think Chad should ( I make an appeal on President Idriss Deby Itno for the interest of our country) also reinforce its anticorruption laws towards this company which willingly admitted that it corrupted Chad’s officials.
Canada, which did not lose anything of its reputation, fined Griffiths $10.3 million dollars; I think Chad which lost its reputation by the company’s own recognition, should fine it as much as all the investments and equipment Griffiths brought to Chad so far. Griffiths wants to cancel all the shares of Chadian citizens because, to Griffiths, they are based on corruption; I think Chad should do the same, cancel the production sharing agreement because, according to Griffiths’ own admitting, based on corruption.
Chad has already punished its ambassador accused of corruption by sacking him from his job; I think it should punish the company which admitted doing corruption as well!
If, at the end of the day, Chad’s honour is to be restored and the ruining of its name is to be retaliated for, not only by punishing the accused “corrupted”, but by also taking on the Admitted corruptor; I am sure my wife will happily sacrifice her shares for the bigger interest of Chad and its citizens.
In our 21 years of happy marriage convinced me that my wife is the cleanest, most honest and the most God fearing person I have ever known. I am very proud of her, her intelligence and her courage. She will never do anything makes her family ashamed! I will support her and defend her independent identity against attempts by Griffiths’ new board which suggest her as only a subject for her husband!
As regarding my modest person,
With great humility, I am very proud of my public service to my country. Many of those who try to judge me, they don’t even know me. I think, can better judge me my class and school mates who know that I have never been behind a student in my academic results. I have never involved in a fight, troublesome or misconduct. Can better judge me my direct bosses including many of the current government’s officials, my subordinates, my colleagues and Chad’s partners with whom I have worked. Those who accusing as Sudanese are among those who do not know me. When I were studding in Sudan, I had to modify my name as Mahamoud Adam Bechir instead of Mahamoud Arime Bechibo Eguni Briasso because Sudan school authorities could not pronounce or even write my original “Chadian” name.
I am proud of my military service as a dedicated young pharmacist, Chef pharmacie externe of HMI (1993- 1997). As an international student representing my country’s officer’s corps in the United States, Monterey Bay, I was the major and crowned by the award of best foreign student by the US Defence Security Agency with a US flag from the congress. Thanks for CEMGA at that time Routouang Yama Golo, who, in consultation with Defence Minister Kadjallami to congratulate me, promote me to Lt Col and transferring me from HMI to DCM as Director. I am proud of my eight months’ in the Ministry of Defence, as Director for Military Cooperation. (January 1998- October 1998), championing, among others, the agreement between Chad- Niger and Nigeria for border security which functioning effectively up to date. I am proud of my six years as head of Chad’s Humanitarian Demining Program (HCND). Creating this giant program and exposing it to the international community (UN, UNDP UNMAS, UNOPS UNICEF, Hadicap InTERNATIONAL, HELP, MAG, GCHD, Bilateral partners such USA, Suisse, France, Germany Canada, Japon…ext) and presenting Chad’s land mines problem through dozens of international conferences made Chad’s Humanitarian Demining Program one of the most known and respected in the whole world. As ambassador of my beloved country for eight years to the international super power (United States of America), Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Cuba, I left a clear and clean legacy, of which I am very proud. The White House and US State Department have agreed that I was the most honest ambassador. Defending my country against the Sudan invasion on February, 1, 2008, I became the focal point and semi-single source of information for all international reporters and news channels of the major three languages (Arabic, French and English). I thank President Deby for awarding me one of the highest distinctions of honour for that. When time came to make peace with Sudan, without exaggeration, I was the architect for that. I thank President Deby and Minister Faki for entrusting me doing so. I am very proud of the Chadian brains in the diaspora whom I took the initiative to negotiate their return to the country from Canada, USA, Borkina Fasso, Sudan, Benin, Libya, Dubai and elsewhere. They are now Ministers, Presidential Advisors, Governors, Diplomats and general civil and security servants, contributing in the renaissance of Chad.
I did not become an opponent to my Government, as certain websites suggested, I will never portray my country, my President or my Minister, as some people might wish or think, but I will challenge Griffiths’ new managing team to prove their corruption allegations and for that, I will make myself available for reporters, media, interviews, investigations (foreign, domestic and international), transparency international.
I am sure; my wife will be ready to open her accounts for tracking of the $2 million dollars, whether they end up to any specific officials, as Griffiths’ board suggest, but also I challenge them to say the whole truth, nothing but the truth!
I will reserve the right to claim damages for my and my family’s reputation and challenge all other Chadian and foreign oil contract dealers, for this specific Griffiths affaire to match my challenge by putting themselves on the light spot! I know but urge them to voluntarily come out and clarify their deals.
I will take this opportunity to regretfully declare an end and for ever to my 20 years of public uninterrupted service and political career (1993- 2013). Still I love my country and will do everything in my capacity to defend its sovereignty and reputation but as a private citizen not as public official, not anymore.
To my daughters and my sons renew my love as a proud father. Those of you who are old enough, be strong, don’t’ be embarrassed in front of your classmates and friends and be sure your father will never do anything which makes you shy? If I did any wrong, I would have come forward and admitted my mistakes as a human being and apologized for, as I always told you to do. But now that some people want to through mud on me, ruin my reputation and try to scare me to be silent, I will never teach you do accept that. All of you are proud Chadians, five of you are US born citizens and one as Canadian born Citizens stand up for your rights and never surrender. Your father has never accepted humiliation and will never accept until he dies. Remember what I told about what happen to me in New York more than two years ago, I will never admit guilt not committed under no matter what is price. Take this story among your friends, through your U-Tubes, twitters, face books and I promise you that history will tell you that your father was telling you the truth.
Finally, I thank President Idriss Deby Itno for the opportunity he gave to serve my beloved country Chad, also for recalling me after these allegations by putting Chad above the persons, even if someone he, I know, admires like me. I will continue assuming my duties as ambassador to South Africa until my successor is appointed, then take a definitive leave of public life.
Vest regards, Mahamoud Adam Bechir.