US Government Exonerates Eni Over OPL 245 Purchase

The company which is registered as Agip in Nigeria is also under investigation in Milan Italy over the $1.3 billion deal brokered by the Goodluck Jonathan government in 2011.The US Department of Justice has concluded its investigation of the purchase of oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245 by Italian oil giant Eni, without taking any further decision.

The company which is registered as Agip in Nigeria is also under investigation in Milan Italy over the $1.3 billion deal brokered by the Goodluck Jonathan government in 2011.

“Today’s decision by the DOJ confirms the findings of independent advisors, who conducted investigations into the claims… which also found no illegal activity,” Eni said in a statement confirming receipt of the decision.

According to SAHARA’s report excerpts saying the company which was also cleared over wrongdoing in another oil field in Algeria said it believes none of its management were guilty of corruption in its acquisition of OPL 245 with royal Dutch Shell.

“Eni reiterates that neither the Company nor its management was involved in any alleged corrupt activities in relation to the Opl245 transaction in Nigeria. Eni is confident that the allegations currently put forward before the Court of Milan will be found to be groundless,” it added.

In a transaction facilitated by then-Minister of Justice Mohamed Adoke, on behalf of the federal government, the Italian firm and Shell had raised $1.3 billion including the signature bonus of about $200 million, which was paid into a JPMorgan bank account owned by the Nigerian government.

About $1.1 billion from the account was allegedly used to pay bribes to politicians and officials of both companies. With the exception of the signature bonus which was for Nigeria, the rest of the fund was to serve as payment for the purchase of the oil block from a carton company — Malabu Oil and gas, created by Dan Etete in 1998, who was the minister of petroleum Resources at the time.

He had, however, used a fictitious name to insert himself into the board of directors of the company. Mr. Adoke has however insisted that neither he nor anyone in the government knew was aware of Etete’s cunning, despite the fact that he had emerged as the face of the company since disputes about the legitimacy of the firm flared up in 2001.

Adoke has always insisted that the Jonathan administration was effecting the pronouncement of a 2006 court judgment.

IN Italy, however, two middlemen Emeka Obi and Gianluka di Nardo, were in 2018, convicted for their role in the deal.

 

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