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Nigeria: Shell admits to paying bribes to former petroleum minister

Nigeria: Shell admits to paying bribes to former petroleum minister

Nigeria

Two anti- corruption charities, finance uncovered and Global witness, have published what they claim is an evidence proving that global giant, shell knowingly took part of a bribery scheme to acquire a valuable offshore oil block in Nigeria.

In 2011 shell, along with Italian oil firm Eni, paid US$1.3bn to the Nigerian government for the block, Oil Prospecting Licence.

However, rather than staying with the government, all but a fraction of the money ended up in the hands of Malabu Oil And Gas, owned by the then Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.

Over time, it became clear to us that (Dan) was involved in and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Malabu.

Global Witness’ investigations into the transaction exposed how Shell’s top decision makers knew that the money they paid for oil block OPL 245 would go to Dan Etete, a former oil minister and convicted money launderer, via his company, rather than to the Nigerian people.

Finance Uncovered and Global Witness say in their report that Etete used the money to pay political bribes.
He had awarded Malabu, which he owned “secretly”, ownership of the field.

Both companies have consistently denied knowing that the money would be used for bribes to settle disputes, but the report, alleges that senior Shell executives were briefed on how the money would be used.

For six years, Shell had consistently denied any wrongdoing, stating it only paid the Nigerian government.

However in a statement to the New York Times on Monday, Shell’s Vice President for Global Media Relations Andy Norman said “Over time, it became clear to us that (Dan) was involved in and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with and Malabu, whether we liked it or not.”

Shell and Eni are already being investigated over the matter. In February 2016, Italian and Dutch prosecutors began a formal investigation into the activities of Shell in acquiring OPL 245, having already begun an investigation into Eni officials in 2014..

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