Italian prosecutors have said that former president, Goodluck Jonathan, probably received as much as $200 million to approve the controversial $1.3 billion sale of OPL 245 oil field.
The disclosure was made by Italian prosecutors in court documents which were gotten from investigation by Italian authorities into the deal.
The documents also confirmed that Shell and ENI knew a good chunk of the $1.3 billion would be disbursed as kickbacks to Nigerian politicians, yet went ahead with the deal, Premium Times reports.
The prosecutors quoted Ednan Agaev, a Russian middleman who helped negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell and Eni, as saying that Dan Etete, the former petroleum minister at the heart of the oil scandal, said he intended to dole out as much as $400 million in bribes if the deal went through,
If Mr Etete actually paid out such an amount in bribes to Nigerian officials, “Agaev stated that he would think President Goodluck Jonathan got at least $200 million of this money,” an excerpt of FBI submissions to Italian authorities stated.
we learnt that Agaev made the disclosure to the FBI during an interview and was also said to have met with Mr Jonathan on more than one occasion in Nigeria during the OPL 245 negotiations.
The Russian, who was Mr. Etete’s representative in the negotiation, said the convicted former petroleum minister told him of the $400 million bribe to Nigerian politicians when he approached him for his payment.
When FBI detectives asked Mr. Agaev about payment of his commission, he “stated that he went to Etete and told him to pay him the $65,000,000 fee. Agaev stated that Etete said, ‘I can’t pay you, I have to pay Adoke [Mohammed Bello Adoke, then Nigeria’s attorney general] $400 million and all the other people in the Senate and the National assembly.”
The claim that Jonathan probably received as much as $200 million in the deal was also repeated by the Russian in a follow-up interview with Italian prosecutors, led by Fabio De Pasquale in Milan.
“I said that if it’s true, that he paid, he had to pay 400 million, I assume that at least 200 went to Goodluck (Jonathan).”
“I heard from Chief (Etete), he claims that he had to pay 400 million, so, if this is true, if he paid 400 million, then most probably the President, as the biggest boss, took at least the half of it,” documents prepared by Italian prosecutors quoted.
But Jonathan has denied any wrongdoing despite the fact that his name has repeatedly featured in different investigations in the scandal across many jurisdictions.
Jonathan’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, had in a statement on a January 10 exonerated the former president about the Malabu oil deal.
Meanwhile, the federal government had approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for a warrant of arrest on former attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mohammed Adoke, over the controversial Malabu oil deal.
NAIJ reported that the request was presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, April 3.
The EFCC has charged the former Attorney General, with illegal transfer of more than 800 million Dollars for the purchase of Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245 to a former Minister of Petroleum, Don Etete and Malabu Oil.
Counsel of the EFCC Johnson Ojogbane, however, made the plea verbally.
Justice Tsoho, in his ruling told Ojogbane to bring the request in writing.
He then adjourned the case to June 13.