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$1.3 Billion Malabu Oil Fraud: The Scam And The People That Wrecked Nigeria

The 12 unbelievable facts you should know about Nigeria’s most controversial deal.
The controversial $1.3 billion fraudulent deal revolves around “OPL 245,” which is believed to be the most valuable oil field in West Africa.

The Malabu oil scam has been making headlines for years and is being described as one of the largest corruption scandals ever witnessed in the global oil industry.
The controversial $1.3 billion deal revolves around “OPL 245,” which is believed to be the most valuable oil field in West Africa.
The scam is being investigated in Nigeria, Italy and Netherlands due to the participation of oil giants Shell and ENI.

    Below are 12 things you should know about the controversial Malabu oil deal:

1. Former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, who was appointed by late dictator Sani Abacha, acquired “OPL 245” through his company, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited while in office in 1998.

Dan Etete (Reuters)

2. The deal was struck only five days after the company was incorporated with three shareholders; Mohammed Sani Abacha , Kweku Amafagha (a fake name created by Etete) and Hassan Hindu (wife of a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK).

Mohammed Abacha (pictured) has purchased the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination form to contest in the 2015 Kano governorship elections (Nairaland)

3. Etete illegally awarded himself the oil block and paid only $2 million out of the $20 million legally required by the state.

4. The oil block, which is said to have about 9 billion barrels of crude oil, was sold to Shell and ENI for $1.3 billion in 2011.

5. However, Shell and ENI did not want to deal directly with Etete, who had been convicted in France for his part in a separate money laundering scandal, so they sent the money to an account belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria in JP Morgan bank, London.

6. The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the Goodluck Jonathan regime, then transferred $801 million of the money into accounts controlled by Malabu and Etete in Nigeria.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan (Telegraph UK)

7. The money was then allegedly shared to various public officials in Nigeria as bribes while the government got only the sum of $210m USD as signature bonus on OPL 245.

8. Officials accused of receiving bribes in connection with the deal include, Goodluck Jonathan, former Nigerian Attorney General, Mohammed Bello Adoke and former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Nigeria’s Diezani Alison-Madueke, seen in 2014, allegedly requested $153.3 million in funds diverted from the country’s state-run oil firm be stashed in three banks (AFP/File)

9. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a nine-count criminal charge against Adoke, SAN, and eight others over the oil block scam.

Ex-Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke

10. Fresh evidence based on a report released by watchdog groups, Global Witness and Finance Uncovered shows that top executives at Shell and ENI knew that the money they paid for oil block “OPL 245” would go to Etete.

11. Shell and ENI have denied wrongdoing even though emails shared by Shell staff show that its executives were negotiating directly with Etete for a year before the deal was finalized.

Correspondence by Shell staff on Etete and Malabu oil deal (Buzzfeed)

12. Goodluck Jonathan is alleged to have received up to $200 million from the controversial deal.
Meanwhile, Shell has, through spokesman, Andy Norman, admitted that it knew the $1.3 billion paid by itself and ENI would be used to settle Etete.

“Over time, it became clear to us that Etete was involved in Malabu and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Etete and Malabu, whether we liked it or not,” Norman told the New York Times via an email sent on Monday, April 10.

Jonathan has however denied the allegations, attributing them to people who are threatened by his rising international profile.


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