A statement by a Civil Society organization monitoring the trial of Royal Dutch Shell and Italian ENI executives over multibillion-dollar bribery has revealed that Nigeria's Attorney General, Abubakar Malami is working against Nigeria's interest as he sent a rookie lawyer to represent Nigeria at the court trial. In the opening hearing today, the lawyer identified as Hillary Seidu told the court Nigeria doesn't want to seek any damages from the indicted multinational corporations.
Lagos-based HEDA said their representatives were “shocked and deeply disturbed” by the Federal Republic of Nigeria's confused appearance before hearing of hearing of the Italian trial of Shell and Eni for its role in the Malabu Scandal.
“While we applaud the action of the Federal Government to intervene in the case, the presence of two lawyers with contradictory instructions was an embarrassment and presents Nigeria in a poor light before the Milan Court.
We were further shocked that one of these lawyers, Hillary Sedu, declared his intention not to ask for damages from Eni.”
"There is now a very real risk that both instructed lawyers will not be recognized by the court, leaving the FRN out in the cold," an alarmed HEDA stated.
“Powers of Attorney to represent Nigeria should not be handed out like confetti. The Attorney General must explain why he has so disastrously mismanaged Nigeria's intervention, potentially losing the chances of recovering billions of dollars in compensation to Nigeria.”
The statement called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the AGF to order.
Saharareporters learnt that Mr. Malami met with Shell and ENI executives sometimes last week in a meeting arranged and attended by Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to plan a strategy that would frustrate the corruption trial by claiming that Nigeria doesn’t have any case against the accused persons involved in the trial.
The meeting followed a revelation two weeks ago that Mr. Malami had written to President Buhari to prevent Nigeria’s anti-fraud police, Economic and financial Crimes Commission from prosecuting a former Attorney General and Minister for Oil Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke who were named in the bribery scam by Italian investigators and prosecutors in Milan.
The case was adjourned today after a brief appearance by the Shell and ENI executives. The case filed has been transferred to a new set of judges who will start the trial on May 10 2018.