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Former Nigerian President Jonathan allegedly involved in $1.3 billion OPL 245 oil fraud

Author: Adeola Opeyemi: 6 Jan 2017

– An indictment released by Italian prosecutors has linked former President Goodluck Jonathan to the Malabu oil scam

– Others named in the reports include Diezani Alison Madueke, Mohammed Adoke, Aliyu Gusau and Bayo Ojo

– The report alleged that Goodluck Jonathan and others mentioned shared in the $1.3b fraudulent oil deal

An investigative report by Italian prosecutors has alleged that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, former minister of petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Attorney Generals Mohammed Adoke and Bayo Ojo, former Minister of Defense and ex-National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau as well as numerous other senior government officials shared hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to an indictment obtained by Sahara Reporters, the Italian prosecutors alleged that Goodluck Jonathan and several officials of his government as well as top corporate officials of international oil firms, Eni and Shell, met several times between 2010 and 2011 to seal the fraudulent Malabu deal and split a massive loot running into hundreds of millions between Nigerian government and public interests as well as corporate officials.

The indictment shows that former Abacha-era Minister, Dauzia Loya Etete, better known as “Dan Etete” and his Malabu company were at the center of the scam that involved the sale of an oil bloc named OPL 245 he illicitly acquired in 1998.

Italian oil giant, Eni, the owner of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd (NAOC) and Royal Dutch Shell, contracted to acquire 100 percent of the 245 oil blocks for a deal that totaled $1.3 billion.

However, Italian prosecutors are alleging that much of the funds was set aside for fraudulent payments to Mr Jonathan and other government officials as well as corporate executives working for Eni and Shell.

Apart from naming numerous officials of Eni and Shell, the indictment also fingered Mr Jonathan, Mr Etete, Mrs Alison-Madueke, Mr Adoke, former NSA Gusau, Mr Obi, Mr Ojo, and Alhaji Abubakar as beneficiaries from the Malabu fraud.

Among the corporate players named in the Malabu deal are Paolo Scaroni, Eni’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, and Claudio Descalzi, the Managing Director of Eni’s Exploration and Production Division since July 2008.

The indictment states that Mr Scaroni “agreed to intermediation by Obi,” and was constantly informed by Mr Descalzi of the progress of developments in the deal.

Mr. Descalzi met then President Jonathan in person in 2010 and again in 2011.

According to the indictment, Mr Descalzi maintained steady contact with Mr. Obi and two key Eni employees in Nigeria, Roberto Casula and Vincenzo Armanna, who helped coordinate a deal in which Mr Jonathan and other senior officials of his government would receive illegal commissions in exchange for approving the Malabu oil deal.

Mr Descalzi also coordinated with his Shell counterpart, Malcolm Brinded, on the $1.3 billion price tag for the oil block.

Other Eni and Shell officials also attended meetings with the then president, Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on August 13, 2010 regarding the OPL245 deal and, again, on February 22, 2011. In addition, the indictment states that the two oil companies’ executives attended meetings from November 18 to 25, 2010, at Mr Adoke’s offices in Abuja.

Apart from Mr Adoke, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar also known as ‘AAA Oil’ was also present at the meetings during which, according to Italian prosecutors: “The financial conditions of the deal ($1.3 billion) were agreed.”

Mr Armanna, the Senior Advisor of Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd and as Eni Vice President for upstream sub-Saharan activities, reportedly played a major role in the scam.

Italian prosecutors accuse Mr Armanna of facilitating the Nigerian government’s active role in the Malabu deal, including the payment “of €1,092,040,000 intended for Etete, in addition to the ‘signature bonus’ of $207,960,000.”

The indictment also states that on October 30, 2010, Ciro Antonio Pagano of Eni, signed his firm’s offer to Raffeisen Bank, Obi’s advisor, for the company’s 100% acquisition of Malabu’s participating interest in OPL 245.

The payments comprised $207,960,000 to the Nigerian government as the signature bonus and $1,053,000,000 directly to Malabu.

According to the indictment, Etete is also being accused of “having received authorization from Minister of Petroleum Alison-Madueke to dispose of 100% of OPL245, following the decision of President Jonathan.

In addition, Etete was said to have: “Conducted confidential negotiations with Aliyu Abubakar, who acted as an agent of Goodluck Jonathan and accepted, under government pressure, the total sum of $1.3 billion, established by Eni and Shell.”

Italian prosecutors also reported that: “Mr Etete received $801.5 million from the Nigerian government under the FGN Resolution Agreement, and having transferred to Abubakar Aliyu, directly or through companies attributable to him, funds of approximately $520 million, intended to be paid to President Jonathan, members of the government and other Nigerian government officials.”

The indictment also states that the Malabu deal involved an agreement that Dan Etete would use much of the funds from the sale of the oil bloc.

The indictment added that: “President Goodluck Jonathan and other members of the Nigerian government in office at the time, including Mrs Alison-Madueke, Attorney General Muhammed Bello Adoke, National Security Advisor Aliyu Gusau, a member of the House of Representatives, Umar Bature, former Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah received huge payoffs from the Malabu deal.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mohammed Adoke has revealed in an interview that he was following directives from former president Goodluck Jonathan in the Malabu oil deal and denied any allegation of corruption.

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