01/16/2013 10:49 EST | Updated 03/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Griffiths Energy faces corruption charge, expects negotiated resolution

CALGARY - Griffiths Energy International Inc. said Wednesday it has been charged under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act in relation to consulting contracts.

The privately held company, active in the African country of Chad, launched an internal investigation in late 2011 when it discovered the contracts, which were signed by its prior management between August 2009 and February 2011.

"We've worked extensively with the Crown and the RCMP throughout and we anticipate a negotiated resolution in the very near future," said CEO Gary Guidry in a news release

"We can't say any more at this time, but will commit to providing more details as soon as a resolution is approved by the court and made public."

The contracts in question were with two entities owned and controlled by a foreign public official and his spouse.

The internal investigation wrapped up last May, after which Griffiths voluntarily shared the results with the appropriate authorities.

"The rigorous internal investigation was supervised by a special committee of independent directors of the board and conducted by external legal counsel and a forensic investigative accounting firm," Griffiths said, adding it believes it's the first firm to self-report such matters.

The company's chairman and co-founder Brad Griffiths died in a boating accident Ontario's cottage country in July 2011. It happened that the groundwork had already been laid for a new management team to step in around that time.

In June 2011, another Calgary-based energy company, Niko Resources Ltd. (TSX:NKO), was fined $9.5 million for bribing a Bangladeshi state energy minister with access to a luxury vehicle and a trip to New York.