The International Telephone & Telegraph Corp. has denied any knowledge of allegedly illegal payments to secure contracts in Nigeria.
Responding to a story in Sunday's editions of The Washington Post, the company said a special committee of its board of directors has reviewed ITT's Nigerian contracts and "no evidence of illegal contracts has been found."
[Chief M.K.O Abiola, ITT's chairman for Nigeria who The Post said paid considerable sums to Nigerian politicians, also denied the allegations, news services reported from Lagos. ITT "has not bribed anyone to obtain any contract in Nigeria at any time . . . . Every contract that ITT has won in Nigeria has been through open competitive tender, not by negotiated bids," Abiola said.]
The Post Story said ITT made questionable payments of millions of dollars beginning in 1975 and continuing into this year to gain telecommunications contracts in Nigeria. Payments to a foreign official in exchange for assistance in getting business is illegal.
ITT, said "our top management and board of directors have made every effort to find out the facts relating to so-called 'questionable payments' by anyone and anywhere in our company."
The company said that if The Post has evidence of such payments, the evidence should be turned over to the special review committee or to ITT management.
"ITT rejects the allegations by The Washington Post that the sources in the story published [Sunday] are current highly placed executives," the statement said.