Malabu: Italian Court Seeks Arrests of Etete, Others Over OPL 245 Scandal

July 22, 2020
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Italian Prosecutors in a Milan Court, has, requested a 10-year sentence for former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, who served under General Sani Abacha’s military regime from 1995 to 1998.

The prosecutors, according to reports, also requested  the court to order the confiscation of $1.092bn from Shell and ENI, while they asked the court to jail, for eight years,  Eni’s Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Claudio Descalzi, alongside Paolo Scaroni and Luigi Bisignani, who succeeded him in office.  

While seven years and four month’s sentence was requested for Shell’s former Board member, Malcolm Brinded and Robert Casula, Eni’s Head Of Technology And Development, respectively, a four year and six months jail term was requested for Peter Robinson, Shell’s former Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa, Vincenzo Armanna, Ciro Antonio Pagano, Ednan Agaev, Gianfranco Falcioni, John Copleston and Guy Colegate respectively. 

The Case was brought before the Alua Bunker Courthouse, adjoining San Vittore Prison, in downtown Milan where it was expected to conclude corruption trial involving two oil giants companies known  as Royal Dutch Shell and Eni.

The companies were accused of their involvement  in over a $1 billion bribery scheme in the process of purchasing one of Nigeria’s biggest Oil Processing License, OPL, known as OPL 245.

The prosecutor while outlining the arguments, accused the parties of having had knowledge that the payments it made to Malabu went as kickbacks to top government officials as the entire allocation process lacked transparency.

 Etete, had in 1998, acquired OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s biggest oil well, which had about nine billion barrels of crude oil, translating to a quarter of Nigeria’s total oil reserves, for just $2 million, through his company Malabu Oil and Gas Company. 

His company paid only $2 million out of the $20 million dollars that was valued by the country for the sale of the well.

But in 2011 the oil bloc was sold to Shell and Eni for $1.3 billion who made payment to the federal government through J P Morgan in London, the money according to reports was allegedly shared amongst public officers as bribes.

This gave rise to one of the continent’s biggest Oil Scandal in history as the license sold to Shell was revoked. 

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