10 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja — Indications are that former President Goodluck Jonathan probably received as much as $200 million to approve the controversial $1.3 billion sale of OPL 245 oil field, Italian prosecutors revealed in court filings.
It has also been confirmed that Shell and ENI are aware that a sizeable good chunk of the $1.3 billion will be disbursed as kickbacks to Nigerian politicians, yet went ahead with the deal.
The documents which are extracts of a thorough investigation by Italian authorities into the deal were obtained by BuzzFeed and Italian business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore. BuzzFeed released its own version yesterday.
The prosecutors quoted Ednan Agaev, a Russian middleman who helped negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell and Eni, as saying that Dan Etete, the former Petroleum Minister at the heart of the oil scam said he intended to dole out as much as $400 million in bribes if the deal went through.
If Mr. Etete actually paid out such an amount in bribes to Nigerian officials, Agaev stated that he would think President Goodluck Jonathan got at least $200 million of this money, BuzzFeed quoted an excerpt of FBI submissions to Italian authorities as saying.
The revelations were made when the FBI interviewed Mr. Agaev, whom prosecutors also said met with Mr. Jonathan on more than one occasion in Nigeria during the OPL 245 negotiations.
Mr. Agaev, who was Mr. Etete’s representative in the negotiation, said the convicted former petroleum minister told him of the $400 million bribe to Nigerian politicians when he approached him for his payment.
When FBI detectives asked Mr. Agaev about payment of his commission, he stated that he went to Etete and told him to pay him the $65,000,000 fee.
Agaev stated that Etete said, ‘I can’t pay you, I have to pay Adoke (Mohammed Bello Adoke, then Nigeria’s attorney general) $400 million and all the other people in the Senate and the National assembly.”
The Russian also repeated the assertion in a follow-up interview with Italian prosecutors, led by Fabio De Pasquale in Milan.
“I said that if it’s true, that he paid, he had to pay 400 million, I assume that at least 200 million went to Goodluck (Jonathan).”
“I heard from Chief (Etete), he claims that he had to pay 400 million, so, if this is true, if he paid 400 million, then most probably the President, as the biggest boss, took at least the half of it,” BuzzFeed wrote, quoting documents prepared by Italian prosecutors.
The findings, which included internal emails and phone conversations of Shell’s officials and agents, also revealed how Mr. Etete’s wife allegedly stated that her husband was getting only a part of the total sum paid by Shell.
“The rest goes to paying people off,” BuzzFeed reported.