22.5 C
Abuja

Malabu Scandal: U.S. Department of Justice closes probe on Eni/Shell involvement due to lack of evidence

Advertisement

Related

Advertisement
Advertisement

THE U.S. Department of Justice, DOJ, on Wednesday, clarified that shutting down the probe into the alleged OPL 245 bribery scandal perpetrated by Italian oil giant Eni due to lack of evidence did not mean the case has been closed according to a Reuters report.

The US legal body hinted that closing the probe was not absolute but the investigation could be re-opened if circumstances surrounding the case changed.

According to the report, a trial attorney for the DOJ said that in light of the “misleading implication” of a lack of evidence highlighted by the prosecutors, he was sending them a copy of the DOJ’s original communication with Eni’s counsel in the United States.

The acting chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit in the letter said the inquiries had been closed because Italian authorities were prosecuting the case.

“If the circumstances noted above change, the Department may reopen its inquiries,” he said.

In 2011, the federal government had facilitated the controversial OPL 245 deal for Malabu Oil and Gas which was interested in the oil field.

Shell and Eni also wanted to buy the oil block from the Nigerian company instead of paying the required a signature bonus of $210 million to the federal government, they also paid  another $1.1 billion to buy 100 per cent stake in the oil block from Malabu

- Advertisement -

They transferred the $1.3 billion to the account of the federal government in London, UK, from where Malabu was paid off its $1.1 billion.

Eni, the biggest foreign oil and gas producer in Africa, is currently on trial in Milan on graft allegations surrounding the 2011 acquisition of OPL 245.

The firm is also involved in a corruption case involving its previously 43 per cent-owned unit Saipem over alleged bribes paid to win contracts in Algeria.

A Milan court acquitted Eni last year but the decision is still subject to appeal.

The DoJ had been conducting its own investigation into the Nigerian and Algerian allegations independently of the Italian court cases.

On Tuesday, Eni issued a statement saying the DoJ had informed its management that the investigation had been closed with no action taken.

Eni issued a second version of the first statement stating that it removed a passage saying the DoJ decision confirmed investigations by independent advisers and Eni’s own controlling bodies that found no illegal activity.

- Advertisement -

An Eni spokesman said the original statement had contained a translation error and had been replaced as soon as possible. He emphasised that the DoJ’s statement that it could re-open the investigation if circumstances changed was in line with normal procedure.

“If the DoJ would decide to reopen its investigation based on events new and unknown, then Eni will cooperate again with the Department to further demonstrate that Eni and its management are not involved in any illegal conduct,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Author profile

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

Support the ICIR

We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

[molongui_author_box]

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

Advertisement

Recent

SPECIAL REPORT: Nigeria tops list of grounded aircraft fleets globally

NIGERIA has attained the first position in the top 10 countries’ list with the...

Shiroro attack: Death toll rises to 48, 34 soldiers killed – Community youth leader

MORE bodies of soldiers and police officers killed during an ambush by terrorists at...

Peter Obi to supporters: Don’t attack people with different views

PRESIDENTIAL Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi has appealed to his supporters...

NDLEA intercepts N4.5 billion heroin inside baby food packs at Lagos airport

THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted 22 blocks of heroin weighing...

Buhari urges Nigerians to shun road abuse, maintain speed limit

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to desist from abusing roads constructed by the...
Advertisement

Most Read

Advertisement

Subscribe to our newsletter

Advertisement