- President Jonathan, Diezani, Gusau, Adoke, Others Shared $1.3b In Malabu Oil Fraud
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. In an indictment obtained by SaharaReporters, Italian prosecutors alleged that Mr. 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. According to Italian prosecutors, Mr. Etete had engaged Zubelum Chukwuemeka Obi to source for buyers of the oil bloc. Subsequently, Italian oil giant, Eni, the parent of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd (NAOC) and Royal Dutch Shell, contracted to acquire 100 percent of the 245 oil block 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 the global oil firms, 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. In addition, he and Mr. Descalzi met then President Jonathan in person twice, “both during the finalization of the agreements (13 August 2010) and at the final stage, during an electoral campaign rally in Nigeria on 22 February 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 President 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.”
The firms’ executives also met with Mr. Dan Etete in Milan, Italy from November 30 to December 1, 2010 and finalized issues “relating to the commissions.” 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. The indictment accuses him of maintaining contact with Mr. Obi and Mr. Etete, even though he was “fully aware of the destination of most of the sums paid by Eni to the political sponsors of the operation” and that some executives of Eni and Shell, himself included, were to receive “significant sums” from the deal. He is also accused of coordinating the fraudulent deal with his Shell counterpart, Peter Robinson, and hosting meetings at his residence in Nigeria with Shell executives. Mr. Armanna reportedly “supervised the Eni negotiating team’s drafting of the ‘resolution agreements.’” In addition, he met with Mr. Adoke numerous times to discuss the illicit transfers.
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 states that he coordinated with Gianfranco Falcioni and Bayo Ojo to transfer funds paid by Eni to the account of the Nigerian government at JP Morgan Chase London. As part of his reward, Mr. Armanna “subsequently received from Bayo Ojo the sum of €917,952 with the false payment reference of ‘Armanna inheritance.’”
The indictment states that, on October 30, 2010, Ciro Antonio Pagano, the NAE’s Managing Director, 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.
The indictment names Mr. Obi as shareholder in the company Energy Venture Partners Ltd (EVP), and as the person “assigned by Etete to find a buyer for block 245.” Italian prosecutors allege that Mr. Obi agreed with Etete that the “so-called ‘excess price’ – between the sum that Eni/NAE was undertaking to pay and the amount accepted by Etete, would be withheld by Obi, with the expectation that the aforementioned premium would be distributed among Mr. Obi, his sponsors, Di Nardo and Bisignani, Eni and Shell executives and “Nigerian government officials, in particular the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke.”
According to the indictment, Mr. Obi having met several times with Attorney General Adoke, and maintained direct relations with the AGF as well as with “persons connected to him, specifically Roland Ewubare and Oghogo Akpata.” He also maintained relations with Ms. Alison-Madueke and NSA Gusau, said the indictment.
The document also accuses Ednan Tofik Ogly Agaev of agreeing to a fee of 6% for his work as intermediary between Mr. Etete and Shell. It said Mr. Agaev, a Russian and former MI6 operative, subsequently worked for Shell as Senior Business Advisor and Strategic Investment Advisor. He is accused of meeting NSA Aliyu Gusau “on a number of occasions and having obtained information from him on the expectations of President Jonathan and other members of the government.”
The document describes Mr. Etete as “the fraudulent holder of the OPL245 exploration license since 1998.” He is also 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, he “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 “for his own benefit and that of a large number of other beneficiaries to purchase property, aeroplanes, armored cars, etc.).”
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, and “holders of influence over President Jonathan and other members of the government” received huge payoffs from the Malabu deal.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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