foreign anti-corruption watchdogs probes GEJ

Two foreign anti-corruption watchdog is investigating oil deals involving former president Goodluck Jonathan, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni. The foreign investigators from Netherlands and Italy visited the headquarters of royal dutch shell and ENI last month. The Dutch investigators visited Shell headquarters in the Hague over an investigation into a the controversial Nigerian offshore oil field located in oil prospecting license (OPL) 245 retrieved from Malabu Oil over allegations of fraud in award of the oil block, and later sold to Shell and ENI.

A spokesman for Shell, Nigeria, Precious Okolobo, confirmed the investigation stating that: “We can confirm that representatives of the Dutch Financial Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD) and the Dutch Public Prosecutor recently visited Shell at its headquarters in The Hague. The visit was related to OPL 245, an offshore block in Nigeria that was the subject of a series of long-standing disputes with the Federal Government of Nigeria. Shell is cooperating with the authorities and is looking into the allegations, which it takes seriously.

“Shell attaches the greatest importance to business integrity. It’s one of our core values and is a central tenet of the business principles that govern the way we do business. All employees are expected to uphold these principles and failure to do so will result in consequences up to and including dismissal.”
In the same vein, Italian prosecutors opened a corruption probe into Eni in 2014 in a case relating to a $1.3 billion acquisition of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oil block in 2011 by the Italian company and Shell. The probe is investigating the roles played by certain top managers of ENI.

The scandalous oil block was fraudulently sold to Malabu Oil for a paltry sum by Dan Etete who was the Minister of Petroleum between March 1995 and 1998. The oil block was awarded to Malabu Oil two weeks before Abacha died. In 2001, former President Olusegun Obasanjo cancelled the Malabu license on the basis that the allocation was inappropriate, and the ownership reverted to the Federal Government. In 2011, former President Goodluck Jonathan sold the oil block to Shell and Eni for $1.1 billion and another $207 million as signature bonus. Reportedly, few days after about 90 per cent of the payment was made to Nigeria’s JP Morgan London account, the Federal Government transferred the payment to Malabu’s account and thereafter over $500 million was transferred to companies owned by one Aliyu Abubakar.