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Dutch Investigators Question Shell Officials Over OPL 245

Officials of Shell, the multi-national oil firm at the heart of one of the largest oil heists in Nigeria, have been questioned by Dutch investigators for their roles in the deal.

Shell and Italian oil giant, Eni, had allegedly agreed to secretly pay $1.3 billion to Malabu through the Federal Government in 2011. The money was meant for OPL 245, one of the largest oil blocks in Africa, which was awarded to Malabu in 1998 when Dan Etete was the petroleum minister under the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

After Shell and Eni paid the money into Nigeria’s accounts in JP Morgan Bank, London, the Federal Government transferred $801 million of the money into Malabu accounts controlled by Mr. Etete in Nigeria. Mohammed Adoke, former Nigerian Attorney General, and Diezani Alison-Madueke, ex-Petroleum Minister, who both authorised the 2011 deals, have not appeared before anti-graft officials in Nigeria who are investigating the deal.

Adoke has denied any wrongdoing, saying he, as Attorney-General, only acted as an intermediary to resolve a multi-layered contentious matter. He said he was currently in school for an LLM at Leiden University in The Netherlands, and could not, therefore, appear before Nigerian anti-graft agency, EFCC.

While Etete later claimed he only got $250 million from the money, it was learned that the rest was paid as bribes to several officials of the Nigerian government under the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The OPL 245 deal, which is being investigated by officials in Nigeria, Italy, the UK and the U.S., has taken a new turn as anti-graft officials in The Netherlands commenced their investigations into the scandal.

Dutch Investigations

The Dutch investigations is led by the Dutch Financial Intelligence and Investigation Service, FIOD, and the Dutch Public Prosecutor. While some Nigerian media had reported that Adoke was also
questioned by the Dutch authorities in relation to the deal, an official involved in the investigation described the report as untrue. “Adoke was not interviewed,” the official, who sought anonymity as he was not permitted to talk to the media, said.

He, however, said they were aware Adoke was in The Netherlands and could be questioned as part of their investigations. Shell has, however, confirmed its officials were questioned in relation to the deal. It said: “We can confirm that representatives of the Dutch Financial Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD) and the Dutch Public Prosecutor recently visited Shell at its headquarters in The Hague.” [Read More…]

Source: Vanguard Nigeria

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