Ngozi Okonjo IwealaNgozi Okonjo Iweala

Dear Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,

Regular readers of Sahara Reporters may recall that I have provided an initial rebuttal to a 25th March 2014 letter that you wrote to me and my colleagues on matters including OPL 245 and the missing $20 billion. In my response which was published in Sahara Reporters on 27th March 2014, I addressed some of your counterfactual statements and promised to provide further information in due course and I am now taking this opportunity to fulfill my promise.

In your letter you dismissed our request for you to take action to prevent the funds from the OPL 245 acquisition by Shell/Eni being dissipated as, “a cop-out” by my partners and I, who were reluctant or unwilling to take the “necessary action” ourselves.

You should note that our initial letter to you at the outset in May 2013 was part of a multi-pronged strategy. For the recordbefore writing to you we had complained directly to the EFCC whom you referred us to and whom unbeknownst to you we had already contacted independently and met with in March 2013. At that meeting, Lamorde informed us that he would have to refer the matter to the Attorney General, who of course to your knowledge was the main architect of the OPL 245 deal. Needless to say, we have not heard nor expect to hear further from the EFCC on this matter.

However, in recognition of the challenges of pushing the matter in Nigeria with the EFCC beholden to a corrupt Attorney General, we utilised the global dimension of the caseto refer the matter to criminal investigation authorities in multiple jurisdictions including the US, UK and Italy. . We are acutely aware that the relevant authorities in the aforementioned jurisdictions are co-operating fully in this matter.  

It is a matter of public record that in response to our complaint the UK authorities opened an investigation into OPL 245. We understand that Adoke has made several unsuccessful trips to the UK in an effort to truncate this investigation. It is also a matter of public record that the Italians also opened an investigation and last week raided Eni’s Milan head office as adirect result of our complaint. The Italian media is now agog with stories about Eni and some of its top executives being under investigation.

So you can see that contrary to your misguided opinion we did not use you as a cop out for not taking the necessary action ourselves. Consequently, you may wish to take some consolation from the fact that it is a matter of when and not if Adoke and his colleague who you are scared of will be held to account for their roles in the OPL 245 saga. It would appear to me that it is Adoke who is now running scared. I can alsoreinforce my comments that we are acting on your advice to trace Diezani’s assets in the UK and elsewhere and any information that you or anyone else can provide in this respect will be greatly appreciated.  We will also be casting a critical eye on the role played by JP Morgan as the banker of choice for the Federal Government of Nigeria.

It is important that you and your colleagues understand that we are living in a global world and we have the resources andthe wherewithal to challenge those who believe that they can continue to loot Nigeria’s resources with impunity be theyNigerians or foreigners. In this regard you should note our record in this respect which includes but is not limited to the examples provided below for your attention.

After a prolonged struggle, I can report that Thomas Gibian, the founding CEO of the US fund manager, Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and others will soon be made to account for their roles in Ibori’s money laundering, as the UK government’s efforts to recover Ibori’s assets draw to a close. For your information, we informed the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and other investors in the ECP Africa Fund II that ECP was corruptly investing in Nigerian companies reportedly linked to Ibori’s money laundering. Following what it represented to be an extensive investigation, DFID accepted ECP’s counterfactual assurances that its Africa Fund II investee companies in Nigeria were and could not be linked to Ibori.

However, following the conclusion of the asset recovery proceedings, DFID will have to account for its funding of theUK government’s efforts to recover assets that the UK Crown Prosecution Service and Police have alleged Ibori owns in the ECP Africa Fund II investee companies Notore and Oandowhile accepting ECP’s counterfactual assurances that those companies cannot and are not linked to Ibori directly or indirectly. I would expect that the defence lawyers will be keen to understand why DFID was minded to dismiss evidence of the Ibori links that we know the Police provided to them, in favour of the assurances provided by their fund manager, ECP that there were no links.

In the case of OPL 245, as you are aware, our position which is backed by the House of Representatives is that ENI and Shell unlawfully acquired the licence. It is now a matter of public record that Paolo Scaroni, the former ENI CEO, Claudio Descalzi the current ENI CEO, Roberto Casula the Executive Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa and others will soon have their day in court over the corrupt acquisition of OPL 245 along with their counterparts in Shell. I was at a hastily convened side meeting with Casula and other top Eniexecutives at the last Eni AGM and can report that Casulawho is now a focus of the Italian investigation appeared to me and my colleagues to be wilting under the pressure.

The list will continue to grow as we continue our drive to hold to account those who believe they can continue to loot our national resources with impunity.

You should also note that we are now turning our focus to the $20 billion that his Royal Highness, the highly respected Emir of Kano, has alleged is missing and anyone found culpable in this heinous theft will be brought to justice whether inside or outside Nigeria. In this regard you should understand that those who are attempting to represent that the money is not missing will one day have to justify themselves in court.

The writing is on the wall for those who know how to read. Wherever we find evidence of corrupt looting of Nigeria’s public resources we will ensure that those involved are challenged and brought to account.

Yours sincerely,

Dotun Oloko

You may also like

Read Next