$1.3bn Malabu scandal: Shell admits paying Etete for oil bloc
The Royal Dutch Shell, yesterday,has admitted paying money to Malabu Oil and Gas for rights to oil bloc, OML 245, also known as the Malabu owned by former Petroleum Minister, Chief Dan Etete.
This is coming on the heel of move by the House of Representatives Committee on Justice probing the Malabu deal is to summon former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify before the ad-hoc panel investigating the deal.
Jonathan, had since denied allegations that he received a bribe of $200 million as proceeds from the Malabu oil deal.
However, a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday fixed May 18 to hear a motion seeking to stop the Federal Government from entering into any Final Investment Decision (F.I.D) .
Agreement with any person in respect of Zabazaba Deep water project located within the disputed Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL 245. Shell’s admittance is coming after a new evidence, following the corruption probe into its acquisition of the oil bloc, off the coast of Nigeria, indicating that top executives were prepared to press ahead with the deal, despite knowing that most of the money could end up as political bribes. Shell spokesman,
Andy Norman, said the group had known the Federal Government “would compensate Malabu to settle its claim on the bloc.”
The company had previously said its payments from the 2011 deal went to the Federal Government. According to Norman, while Shell knew that former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, was “involved” with Malabu, it had not confirmed that he controlled the company.
He said: “Over time, it became clear to us that Etete was involved in Malabu and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Etete and Malabu, whether we liked it or not.” Norman added that the company believed the settlement was a fully legal transaction with the Federal Government.
The statement came amid mounting pressure over the deal, in which Shell and Italy’s Eni paid $1.3 billion for the rights to offshore bloc, OPL 245, which industry estimates say could hold more than nine billion barrels of oil. Courts in Nigeria and Italy are still investigating the purchase of the bloc.