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Etete attacks Atiku over oil deals

Posted by By Geoffrey Ekenna on 2006/10/04 | Views: 473 |

Etete attacks Atiku over oil deals


A former Minister of Petroleum Resources under the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime, Chief Dan Etete, on Tuesday, accused Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of conniving with the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, and his firm to carry out shady oil deals.

A former Minister of Petroleum Resources under the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime, Chief Dan Etete, on Tuesday, accused Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of conniving with the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, and his firm to carry out shady oil deals.

Etete, who went on exile shortly after the present administration came to power, also alleged that Abubakar used INTELS, a company in which he has a substantial interest, to sell a piece of land in Port-Harcourt to Shell at $100m.

He claimed that Abubakar and his Italian business partners took over 50 per cent shares of Malabu Oil’s block No 245 without any payment.

Forty per cent of the shares in the said oil block, according to him, was later sold by the vice-president and the Italians - Messrs Gabriel Volpi, Angello Perruzi and one Lugano, a Switzerland-based lawyer.

He added that they later collected $210m from Shell, which issued a dud cheque of $17,960,000 to the Federal Government.

Etete’s comments, which were aired on the African Independent Television on Tuesday, was sponsored by the Concerned National Democrats.

The documentary, which ran for about one hour, had the former minister fielding questions from unseen faces on the controversial OPL 245.

The OPL 245 was awarded by the late Abacha regime but was revoked in 2001 by the Department of Petroleum Resources.

But the vice-president described the former minister as a man lacking in integrity.

The VP, in a statement by the Atiku Campaign Organisation (the statement was not issued under any person’s name) said the comments by Etete were a part of the smear campaign against him.

The former minister said, “Atiku has 20 per cent stake in INTELS. It is not a secret. He and his business partners wanted 60 per cent of the oil block in Malabu. They said that if the stakeholders of Malabu refused, they would revoke the licence and give it to another local company.

“I was really surprised because that is not the way the industry is managed. It was a shame for Nigeria. The stakeholders of Malabu said that they didn’t want problem that I should go ahead and negotiate as their consultant.”

He said that the visit of the Italians to his office in Paris, led to a settlement for 50 percent of the oil block for the vice-president’s group.

Etete also claimed that the Abubakar group acquired 20 per cent stake in the oil block 247 in the same fashion.

According to him, it was at that point that the VP’s business associates introduced a Nigerian company, Pecos Nigeria Limited and a businessman, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, to him.

He accused Shell of lying, treachery and insincerity in its dealings with the Federal Government.

The former Minister also accused the vice-president of lying that President Olusegun Obasanjo was aware of the Malabo oil deal.

He said, “I met Abubakar twice. Once, I met him in the South-East of France. We had dinner in Volpi’s yatch, formerly owned by the late former leader of Yugoslavia, Tito. After the dinner, Volpi made a very nice speech as a businessman and left us together to speak to ourselves.

“I needed to know more and I asked Atiku a point-blank question: Does your boss, the President, know of this transaction? He said, ‘yes.’ Abubakar then asked me ‘What do you think of Fasawe?’ The VP said Fasawe was the representative of the President.”

Etete asked the President to commit Fasawe to jail and use the facts he was providing to prosecute the vice- president.

He said he would use everything he could muster to stop the vice-president from advancing his presidential ambition in 2007.

But in a reaction, the ACO said that the allegations by Etete could not be taken seriously, particularly because, the man had been in exile after “supervising the collapse of Nigeria’s refineries”

The ACO also said that the former minister stole over $5bn from the public treasury.

The statement read in part, “The Atiku Campaign Organisation has watched the AIT defamatory documentary of returning fugitive, Etete, the ex-minister of Petroleum Resources.

“It is suffice for us that Etete admitted in the programme that, as Minister of Petroleum Resources, he allocated the said oil block to himself and his company.

“It is even stranger that Mr. Etete was using the same facts he had used to attack both the President and the vice-president in an earlier interview published by the Insider magazine edition of March 10th 2003.

“What has happened from then to now, for Etete to slant the facts against Atiku?

“Nothing here changes the fact that the Petroleum Ministry has, and continues to be in the firm grip of the President, all by himself, these last seven and half years. Every Nigerian is literate to the fact that all enquiries on oil and related matters go to the President’s desk.

“Etete’s outburst against Vice-President Abubakar is the latest in a regime’s show of shame of smear campaign against the VP by forces bent on stopping him from the legitimate quest for the Presidency.

“When the big masquerade behind Etete is courageous enough to come out, the vice-president will respond.”

Reacting, an official of Shell, who asked not to be named, said that the company was yet to have full details of Etete’s comments.

He said, “We only saw part of the allegations on AIT, and the television station has promised to give us full details of the tape and so we cannot make official comments until we have studied the details, and that cannot be earlier than Wednesday (today).”

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown