Chad rejects U.S. bribery allegations against president

Chad President Idriss Deby addresses the media after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos

N’DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad has rejected allegations made in the United States that its President Idriss Deby was paid a $2 million bribe in exchange for providing a Chinese energy company with oil rights without international competition.

The United States announced charges on Monday against former Hong Kong Home Secretary Chi Ping Patrick Ho and former Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Gadio for allegedly funnelling bribes to high-level officials in Chad and Uganda.

“The government is indignant and questions this fierce attack against our head of state,” Chad’s government said in a statement late on Wednesday, adding that Deby had always sought transparency in the country’s natural resources sectors.

The U.S. Justice Department said Gadio had received $400,000 from Ho via wire transfers through New York to act as a go-between for bribes to Deby on behalf of an unnamed energy firm headquartered in Shanghai.

Neither Ho nor Gadio, who were both arrested last week, have commented publicly on the allegations against them.

Landlocked Chad pumps about 130,000 barrels of oil per day. It ranks third-from-bottom on the U.N. Human Development Index and 159th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.