Drug company 'investigated legal chief'

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The latest cables from whistle-blowing website Wikileaks include allegations against Pfizer. The world's largest pharmaceutical company is said to have hired investigators to dig up corruption allegations against Nigeria's attorney general, as leverage against a proposed legal action.

Nigeria had charged that a Pfizer antibiotic, Trovan, which was used during a large-scale outbreak of meningitis in Kano, northern Nigeria in 1996, harmed children.

Last year, the company paid a final settlement of $75 m to the Kano state government. However, the cable suggests that the US drug company attempted to avoid settlement payments on two other cases brought forward by the Nigerian federal government. Reporting a meeting beween Pfizer's country manager, Enrico Liggeri, and US officials at the Abuja embassy on 9 April, 2009, it states: "According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to attorney general Michael Aondoakaa to put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer's investigators were passing this information to local media."

Another leak provoked fears that Burma is building underground nuclear facilities. A US embassy cable quotes a Burmese officer as witnessing the help of North Korean technicians in constructing an underground facility in foothills more than 300 miles north-west of Rangoon. These reports add substance to rumours earlier this year, passed on by a miliary defector.