The lawyer representing Nigeria at the ongoing trial of the Malabu OPL245 scandal, Lucio Lucia, has indicted ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, at the hearing of the case in Milan court on Wednesday.
At his submission before the court, Lucia said the ex-President was aware of the deal through the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who compromised Nigeria’s interest for the oil companies.
He informed the court that Nigeria wanted to take action because of this fact, which it considers to be of very serious prejudice to the nation.
The court was also informed of “criminal prosecution in Nigeria for these acts against the corrupt, first and foremost Bello, who was accused of receiving illegal compensation in exchange for licensing the oil companies, and thus arrested and extradited from Dubai for the corruption related to OPL 245”.
In exposing the illegal movement of money from Nigeria’s Escrow account in London individual accounts in Nigeria, Lucia said the payment of public officials proved that the money was followed.
Some of the payment made that was traced to Dan Etete include “about $500m exchanged in cash at the bureau de change, at Keystone Bank (400 million) and at the First bank of Nigeria (401 million): on both accounts Etete has the signature to operate.”
It was further splitted to an account of Rocky Top signed by Etete: on the accounts of four companies related to Alyu Abubakar, the only one authorized to operate on the accounts.
Rocky Top reports that Etete, family and friends have been spending a total of 124 million euros for pharaoh-type voluptuous expenses.
From Rocky Top, but especially from Abubakar’s companies (AE Group, Megatech, Imperial Union, Novel properties), an impressive flow of money flows to the bureau de change, the cash exchange offices.
This money is withdrawn and exchanged into cash in foreign currency either personally or by order of Abubakar. In this maelstrom of money, it is worth mentioning transactions traced in documents of particular interest:
-from AE Group and Megatech two transfers ($400,000 and $11,400,000) to Senator John I Obiorah of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
-from Rocky Top $10m to Bayo Ojo, the former AG for the settlement of 2006, which heard at the hearing of 6.2.2019 says it acted as an advisor to Etete for the transfer of the OPL 245 license
-cash transfers to the account of Adoke Bello, the AG in office at the time of the Resolution Agreement – RA 2011, at the Unity Bank in Nigeria.
Adoke bought a property in Abuja from a company of Abubakar at a much lower price than the real one ($4.5 million); and he doesn’t even pay this price.
Adoke received cash payments into his current account of money from Bureau de Change for approximately $2.2 million from 15.2.2012 to 17.10.2013.”
The government that will stipulate RA 2011 starts by confirming the allocation to Malabu and therefore to Etete of 100% of all concession rights for OPL 245.
“The main actors are President GLJ, Oil Minister Diezani and AG Adoke Bello, the latter two will sign the 2011 RA together with the Minister of Finance. Adoke Bello, who, in fact, will play a decisive role at the negotiating table, above all in allowing Eni/Shell to have all the contractual clauses, accepted by the IOCs – clauses unilaterally prepared by them – overcoming any objection by NNPC and DPR, the technical bodies of the Ministry of Oil. This is in favour of IOCs instead of doing the interests of Nigeria,” the lawyer said.
Indicting the oil companies, Lucio said, “For Eni/Shell, on the other hand, the contractual clauses are decisive points for the deal, just as much as the price, because they have a great economic impact and will regulate the life of the licence for the next 30 years (10 OPL + 20 OML), to the detriment of the revenues of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose interest is pre-empted by public officials with respect to their intentions of enormous and illicit personal enrichment. Ultimately, low prices and advantageous clauses are also a big deal for Eni and Shell, but at the expense of Nigeria’s financial interests.
“Ultimately, why commit a serious crime such as international corruption? The answer can only be one: the deal was very interesting for the oil companies and a huge economic advantage.”
Drawing the connection between President Jonathan and Etete, the lawyer said, “It is a matter of conscious adhesion, not of possible malice (which would be sufficient) but of direct malice. The Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) emails make it very clear that Shell and Eni are familiar with the relationship between Etete and the President, the minister and the AG: there are explicit emails. The offence exists because Eni and Shell are fully aware that, in order to obtain the 2011 RA in favourable terms, they essentially pay Etete and that will be paid to public officials. It is a real fraudulent simulation: apparently IOCs have no relationship with Malabu, but have dealt with Etete. They know perfectly well that the money paid will go to Etete to pay the public officials.”
Asking the court, Lucia said, “Is it legitimate to pay an interposed person, knowing full well that the money will be paid in bribes, for obtaining illegal favours?
“It is not enough to pay into an escrow account formally in the government’s name, knowing full well that it was a roundabout game and that the money would go to Etete and from there to corrupt public officials. IOCs should have asked the government for formal reassignment of the license. The corrupt oil minister should have revoked the license in Malabu for inoperativity or failure to pay the signature bonus. Instead they reassign the licence 100% to him.”
Lucia stated in his submission that the disputed conduct for which proof of guilt had been reached for all the defendants has caused serious damage to Nigeria, both pecuniary and non-pecuniary, image and moral damage.
“To the patrimonial damage must be added serious damage to the FRN’s image and moral damage. The offence has altered the proper management of public affairs in Nigeria, seriously affecting economic development. The offence has altered the economic conditions of the market in terms of competition, which is, moreover, the interest protected by the rule that punishes international corruption. All the categories of damage mentioned deserve careful and precise quantification in separate civil proceedings. We therefore request a general sentence to pay damages, with damages to be settled in separate civil proceedings,” he added.