Bayo Ojo (SAN), former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, on Thursday admitted receiving a "compensation" of $10million from former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete for his work as a legal adviser in the sale of OPL 245.
Ojo made the admission in a passage of his examination in Milan in the ongoing trial of former top officials of Royal Dutch Shell and Italian Agip-Eni over the payment of $1.092billion to Etete, the former Minister who awarded himself the lucrative OPL 245 by willing it to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company he had earlier set up using a false identity. He was also convicted of money laundering in an unrelated case in France in 2007.
Among the defendants in the matter are the CEO of the 'Dog six-legged', Claudio Descalzi; his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni; their accuser and former Manager of the Sahara area, Vincenzo Armanna; and also the same company and Shell.
Ojo admitted, in fact, that the worth of his compensation was $50million but he only received a part.
"I received only part, $10million, "and I hope to be able to regain possession of others. I'm not going to sue," he said.
The $50 million, according to the investigation documents, is a tranche of the maxi bribe of which a part was also paid to him, and was nothing more than — as it was written in an agreement — 5percent of the $92billion paid by the Italian oil company.
Ojo's admission, heard by videoconference, does not match that recorded by the former number one of the 'six-legged dog' for the Sahara area in April 2016, as he had claimed in front of investigators and investigators that the money "recovered by Bayo Ojo" has never been returned because not only in Italy at that time the price of gold was very high and "the margin would have been extremely modest", but also for its "economic difficulties.
Ojo, Descalzi had said, actually wanted to have this money back "but I involved him in some business and I found him some customers in Nigeria and then, in the end, he was satisfied".
The former Manager of the oil group would have 'coordinated' with Gianfranco Falcioni, former Italian consul in Nigeria, and Ojo the transfer of the alleged maxi bribe paid by Eni to the account of the Nigerian government at Jp Morgan Chase in London and subsequently received from the former Minister the sum of €917,952 with causal "Armanna inheritance" and that for the prosecutor's Office would be a share of the alleged bribes for the operation.
In his reconstruction, Ojo did not deny that he had collected $10 million. Instead, he said part of the compensation for his "legal advice" should actually have been $50 million, a figure equal to 5 percent of the amount paid to Malabu and Etete for the acquisition of the field.
Pressed by the questions of the prosecutor Sergio Spadaro about the work he had done since 2009 — after he had left the public office during which he had taken part in the proceedings to reassign Malabu to Etete — Ojo, who is referred to in the indictment as one of the recipients of the bribes, explained that his task would be to seek "one or more buyers of the Block but I was not lucky enough to find them".
He didn't talk about the details of his assignment, however, claiming professional secrecy, but he specified that during his work he didn't know about the lawsuit initiated by Shell nor that the Dutch and Italian oil companies "could be buyers" of Opl 245.
He then said that the $10 million was transferred from Rocky Top Resources "to his personal account because his firm did not have a foreign account". Of these, then, a million and $200,000 would be paid in 2012 to Armanna to start an activity in the gold sector.