• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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BREAKING: Nigeria demands $1.1bn damages from Eni, Shell in graft case

BREAKING: Nigeria demands $1.1bn damages from Eni, Shell in graft case

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday asked a Milan court in Italy to order international oil giants, Eni and Royal Dutch Shell, to pay $1.092 billion as damages for the corrupt purchase of one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks worth about $1.3 billion.

According to the lawyer for the Nigerian government, Lucio Lucia, Shell and Eni’s illicit profits from the OPL 245 deal are certainly higher than the $1.1 billion they paid and the harm to Nigeria is also certainly higher.

Lucia narrated to the court how Eni and Shell took a huge reputational risk in dealing with Dan Etete, a convicted money launderer, and his company, Malabu Oil and Gas, a company whose record couldn’t be found and who they never completed due diligence on.

“Hence there is a need to define the damages that Nigeria should therefore receive,” said Lucia who was quoted by Barnaby Pace, an international investigator with Global Witness.

Lucia said that the lack of any tender denied Nigeria the opportunity to find the value of the licence.

The Malabu oil scam, which has been under investigation for over four years, relates to the billions of dollars paid by oil giants, Shell and ENI, into a Federal Government account for OPL 245, considered the richest oil block in Africa.

OPL 245 is perhaps the most-talked-about asset in Nigeria’s oil industry. It covers 1,958 square kilometres and holds over 9 billion barrels of crude oil, equivalent to nearly one quarter of Nigeria’s total proven reserves. Experts claim that the deposit can power the whole of Africa for 20 years.