Malabu Fraud: CSNAC petitions Petroleum Minister over exploration agreement with Eni-Agip

Posted by News Express | 15 February 2017 | 1,929 times

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Petroleum Minister of State Ibe Kachikwu.

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has urged the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to investigate and prosecute suspects in the Malabu fraud viz-a-viz the latest exploration agreement signed with Eni-Agip in Italy.

In a petition forwarded to the minister and signed by CSNAC’s chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition said failure to investigate and prosecute the culprits may warrant it to explore all legal and political means in ensuring the sanctity of Nigeria’s law and integrity.

The petition reads: “The media was awash about six years ago with information on how one of Nigeria’s richest oil field, OPL245 was sold in shady circumstances and more than half of the $1.1 Billion paid to Malabu Oil and Gas for the procurement was consummated through bribe to Nigerian politicians and intermediaries who helped to secure the controversial deal.

“Media reports on the issue indicted former President Goodluck Jonathan, some public officials in his administration, some Italian nationals, including the Nigerian Agip Exploration, Shell and Eni.

“According to a letter seeking the help of the United Kingdom’s Crown prosecution service (CPS) to freeze the assets of those involved, Italian prosecutors said some of the $83 Billion slush money was used to buy private jets and armoured vehicles, and transfers were made to many people in various countries who received sums that vary from millions of dollars to thousands of dollars.

“Acting on the aforementioned request, British prosecutors have already frozen two accounts with a combined sum of $29.5 Billion belonging to the Chief intermediary, Emeka Obi."

CSNAC said investigations also revealed that former oil minister, who was convicted for money laundering in France, Dan Etete, owns Malabu Oil & Gas.

“The company was discovered to have been incorporated five days before the oil block was awarded to it in 1998. While trying to cover his link with the company, Mr. Etete registered the company with a fictitious director, Kweku Amafegha. The company also listed a fake address on its registration documents.

“It was also discovered that certain officials of Federal Government acted as a conduit for the fund after Shell and Eni raised fears over transferring the money directly to Malabu due to Mr. Etete’s earlier conviction in France. These officials of Federal Government facilitated the indirect transfer of the sum of $801 Million to Malabu’s account upon payment of the money. The former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke and Minister of state for finance, Yerima Ngama authorized the transfers.

“Despite overwhelming evidences showing that Shell and Eni are aware that the money would be paid to a character with a shady background, officials of the companies have denied any wrong doing in the affair, even when it was revealed that on the 29th of April, 2011 Eni transferred $1.092 Billion dollars into an escrow account of the Nigerian government at the bank; JP Morgan Chase in London which is not the usual account of the state but a parallel one.”

CSNAC stated further: “It is worth noting that on the basis of the investigation report, the following persons were indicted:

a. Former President Goodluck Jonathan
b. Former Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke
c. Former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke
d. Former National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau
e. Former Attorney General, Christopher Bayo Ojo
f. Former Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah

“Following the above narrative, we are aware that the current government in its anti corruption bid through the EFCC has filed charges against some of the high profiled suspects for money laundering offences via charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/268/20. The Court has also granted an order in favour of the EFCC for the Oil block to be forfeited to Nigerian Government pending the determination of the matter before the Court.

“It is surprising to read of your recent visit to the Italian Foreign Minister to discuss Italian investments in Nigeria of different Italian companies, not just in the energy sector - according to claims, and at the same time the head of Nigerian NNPC met ENI CEO and they signed a new cooperation agreement:

“The timing of this official visit to Italy not only stinks but shameful. At a time when the EFCC is prosecuting a deal involving ENI, the British Court had frozen accounts connected with intermediaries and Italian prosecution indicted officials of ENI in bribery, money laundering and grand corruption, the action of your ministry and NNPC is nothing short of rewarding corruption and stealing of our wealth.

“It is in the light of the above action that we demand in the interest of justice that all the indicted persons and companies involved in this deal, both local and international, are allowed to have their days in Courts as reflected in all investigation reports surrounding this case be charged appropriately and tried in accordance with the relevant criminal laws with no seeming bias or favour before any new agreement is signed with them.

“This will go a long way in assuring the populace that truly ‘no one is above the law’ and thus serve as a deterrent to public officials who aid individuals and companies in corrupt transactions for personal gains to the detriment of the nation. In the same strength, international corporations involved in local corruption and bribery are made to pay for their crimes.”

Source: News Express

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