16 December 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Nigeria has filed a fresh court suit against international oil majors, Shell and Eni over the $1.1 billion Malabu oil scandal, according to a report by Reuters.
The report said the new suit was in relation to payments made by the IOCs to secure the OPL 245 oilfield license in 2011.
The case filed in London is also currently on trial in Milan.
The OPL 245 deal was signed under former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan where a total sum of $1.1 billion shadily exchanged hands through a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete who had also been convicted of money laundering in France.
However, despite the ongoing controversy on the block, the Nigerian government has refused to revoke the license rather, further signed new deals with both Eni and Shell on one of the blocks, Zabazaba.
The current minister of petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said instead of revoking the license on the controversial block, the government would rather ensure Nigeria strikes a better deal with the Zabazaba.
“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, amongst other things, bribes and kickbacks,” the Nigerian government said on Thursday.
“Accordingly, it is alleged that Shell and Eni engaged in bribery and unlawful conspiracy to harm the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that they dishonestly assisted corrupt Nigerian government officials.”
Shell in its response said, “the 2011 settlement of long-standing legal disputes related to OPL 245 was a fully legal transaction with Eni and the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the most senior officials of the relevant ministries.”
Responding, Eni said “any allegation of impropriety or irregularity in connection with this transaction.”
“Eni signed a commercial agreement in 2011 for a new license for OPL 245 with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company and the consideration for the license was paid directly to the Nigerian government,” it said.