After years of claiming that its system is bribery and corruption-free, oil giants, Shell, on Wednesday, admitted that one of its most senior executives may have received kickbacks in return for an oil deal. Mr. Peter Robinson, a former Shell employee, and three other former executives are to face criminal charges in Milan, Italy, for another corrupt deal.
Shell’s admission that its system may not be free of bribery and corruption was made in a statement it issued on Wednesday.
While claiming that it works hard to maintain its code of conduct, business principles and, integrity and expects same from its employees, Shell said the standards are occasionally breached. When such breaches occur, the oil giant said in the statement, it takes decisive action against such.
“Last week, Shell filed a criminal complaint with the Dutch authorities because we suspect a crime may have been committed against Shell by a former employee in relation to the sale of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 in Nigeria in 2011."
“Based on what we know from an internal investigation, we suspect this is a case of possible kickbacks, related to the actions of a former employee who left Shell more than three years ago. The individual in question is Peter Robinson, then Vice President (Commercial), Sub-Saharan Africa,” the statement said.
It noted that Mr. Robinson is one of four former Shell employees, who have been ordered to stand trial in Italy in relation to the 2011 OPL 245 settlement. The oil firm, however, stated that from what it currently knows, OML 42 is unrelated to the OPL 245 settlement.
“Indeed, based on the information available to us including the Milan public prosecutor’s file, we don’t believe there is a basis to convict Shell or any of our four former employees in relation to OPL 245 and we will defend our case vigorously."
“Cases like OML 42 are hard to investigate. By sharing information with the DPP, we want them to combine it with their information, and use their much greater powers of investigation to ascertain the full facts and to take the appropriate action,” said Shell.
It added that it is determined to understand the full facts of OML 42 saga and learn any lessons from it. The firm also promised to assist investigators in their bid to get to the root of the matter.
Reacting to the development, Mr. Barnaby Pace, an anti-corruption campaigner at Global Witness, said it appears that Shell is finally beginning to crack after years of stonewalling.
"Today marks a huge blow for Shell. After years of saying that there is no place for bribery or corruption in their company, they have finally admitted that one of their most senior executives may have taken kickbacks in return for an oil deal. As Peter Robinson along with three other former Shell executives faces criminal charges in Milan for another corrupt deal, it looks like Shell is starting to crack," Mr. Pace told SaharaReporters.