An Italian oil company operating in Nigeria, Eni, has been found to have ‘diverted’ 200 million USD into Italy, according to Italian sources. According to Italian authorities the diversion is connected to the 2011 Malabu oil scandal involving Shell, Eni, and the Nigerian government.
It would be recalled that OPL 245, one of the richest oil blocs in Africa, was awarded to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd. in 1998 by former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete from the Sani Abacha administration. The deal was authorized by former Attorney General Mohammed Adoke and former Minister for Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke. The two have been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but have been on the run.
A Milan prosecutor yesterday interrogated a former Eni executive, Vincenzo Armanna, who was involved in the deal. The prosecutor traced 971,000 Euros in one of his bank accounts related to the Nigerian oil bloc OPL 245 on May 8, 2012.
In 2011, Eni and Shell paid $1.3b to the Nigerian government to acquire OPL 245, but it was discovered that the money was in fact paid to Malabu. The money was first deposited into Nigeria’s accounts with JP Morgan Chase before being discreetly transferred to Malabu accounts.
Several other officials under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, including Mr. Jonathan himself, were discovered to be involved in the scandal, according to investigations.
In an article about the interrogation of Mr. Armanna published by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Shell was implicated along with Eni in financial crimes that were committed “between August 2011 and 2014.”
The article also referred to about 483 million USD traced in Nigeria going to companies close to Abubakar Aliyu, chairman of AA Oil Limited.