Calgary-based Griffiths Energy International Inc. pleaded guilty to a charge under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act in relation to some contract dealings in the African country of Chad.

The company was trying to secure an oil and gas contract in the impoverished African nation.

In an agreed statement of facts read in court on Tuesday, Griffiths Energy International acknowledged the wife of Chad's ambassador to Canada signed an agreement that guaranteed $2 million in cash and millions of shares in Griffiths Energy, if the company was given exclusive resources in two regions.

After giving the government of Chad a $40 million signing bonus, Griffiths Energy was awarded the resources rights.

Griffiths was formed in 2009.

New management took over in 2011 and was preparing an initial public offering when it discovered the illegal contracts.

The company contacted the RCMP and provided thousands of pages of documents to investigators.

A guilty plea was entered in a Calgary courtroom Tuesday morning. It's only the fourth time a company has been charged under Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

Griffiths Energy and the Crown have agreed on a $10.3-million fine, but the case has been adjourned until Friday for a decision in the Court of Queen's Bench.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said millions of shares and $2 million in cash was given to the wife of Canada's ambassador to Chad, when it was the wife of Chad's ambassador to Canada.
    Jan 22, 2013 12:29 AM MT
With files from The Canadian Press