- 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.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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