Following the confession of Bayo Ojo, Nigeria’s former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, at the Milan court hearing charges against key former officials of oil multinationals — Royal Dutch Shell and ENI — that he received $10 million out of $50 million legal charges for facilitating the sale of Oil Processing License (OPL 245) to Malabu, SaharaReporters has seen evidence that the former AGF backdated the contract drafted up for the payment of his fees.
A source familira with the intricacies of the case told SaharaReporters: "One thing that has not come out in the coverage of Bayo Ojo and OPL 245, or in the cross examination, is that his contract with Malabu was clearly written after the OPL 245 deal was concluded. In other words, it was cooked up post hoc to support a dodgy payment."
Ojo’s contract was dated December 1, 2010 but four differences in the wording of the document show that it was drafted after the final Resolution Agreement was reached in April 2011. Between December and April, three RAs were arrived at and the former Minister of Justice inserted preambles from the April agreements in his December 1 contract.
Paragraph H of Ojo’s Contract gives the acronym of ICSID, the international dispute resolution organisation Shell had charged the Nigerian government to in 2007 for returning OPL 245 to Malabu in breach of a 2003 sale to its subsidiary, as ‘the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes’. In the Draft RA circulating as of the date on his contract, ICSID was defined as ‘the International Centre for the Settlement of International Disputes.’ It was not until February 2011 that ‘international’ was changed to ‘investment'. In the next paragraph of the said contract lies the second proof.
The section begins with:
"The cases remaining between FGN, Malabu and SNUD are...”. In the RA that was drafted at the time the contract was dated, that paragraph read:
"The cases instituted between the Parties excepting NNPC and NAE are ..."
Unsurprisingly, Ojo’s 1 December 2010 contract has the same wording with the April 2011 RA, which had not yet been documented:
"The cases remaining between FGN, MALABU and SNUD are…"
In the same paragraph, the list of outstanding issues to be resolved is given as eight in the draft RA of December 2010. The former AGF magically lists four outstanding cases — same as the April 2011 agreement. The final proof is the amount finally agreed to be paid to Malabu and the Federal Government of Nigeria for the field. In the December 2010 RA, it is given as XXX but Ojo’s accurately predicted the exact figure.
Sources closely monitoring court proceedings say a final decision on how much to be paid out to Etete’s firm went down to the wire, rendering Ojo’s claim in court that he knew the agreed price as false.
In a passage of his examination in a Milan court in the ongoing trial of former top officials of Shell and ENI, Bayo Ojo said he received $10 million of a $50 million legal fee for facilitating the sale of OPL 245.
The agreed wages due to Ojo is five per cent of the $1.292 paid by Shell and Eni to Malabu and FGN for the OPL 245 block. Ojo said during the examination that he still hoped to collect his full payment without having to sue.