Milan’s Palace of Justice had staged the investigation to one of the largest fraud cases in African history, where the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had raised its stakes to battle on the awarding of Shell to Malabu Oil and Gas that happened in 1998.
Financial experts have made claims that such a case could cause Nigeria to lose US$5 billion due to poor negotiation in fiscal terms from the said deal. Plus, this case would add up to the US$1.1 billion loss of the state because of corrupt payments, as stated by the Italian prosecutors who managed the case.
The corruption case is so important in all parties concerned because two of the largest oil companies in the world, Shell and Eni, are becoming involved in this corruption case. This could cause a topple down of the companies’ structures, including loss of shares, the crash of their stock and share prices, and probable death of the business model that has been widely used by mining and oil industries in the world.
The case had been rolling on a lot of drama concerning the awarding of the barrels of oil up to the fraudulent documentation and transactions, including deaths of distinctive individuals that were connected to the case. The death of Abacha and the winning bid made by Shell to Malabu Oil after the latter was canceled of its license to operate in 2001.
The investigation started after the death of Abacha and his family members. The consequent dramas that have created a swirl of political propaganda have been linked to his death and how the oil fiasco propagated on sporadic to widespread investigations regarding the said deal.
Etete, the oil minister during Abacha’s rule, had continued conversations regarding the OPL 245 oil deal. However, as Shell won the bid, they are going to fight for the oil block rather than having it all returned to Malabu. Also, rumors have spread over the case as Etete had been making negotiations with Eni, another major oil player in the market, regarding the said deal. The dialogue with Eni had been suspected by Shell and has planned to bring all the fraudulence of the said transactions to court.
In 2010, the Nigerian government had awarded the OPL 245 to Malabu, after calling on a crisis meeting between the government, Eni, and Shell officials. A signing price of US$1.3 billion has been paid for the said deal.
In the end, the fixers who were hired by Etete to do the job in successfully transferring the deal to the major oil companies have blown over their whistles and had accused Etete of not paying their dues as fixers of the deal.
The elections in 2015 have stirred a different course of action for the said deal. EFCC has decided to go against the deal and sue those who were involved in it, saying that the transactions made on this POL 245 deal was bad value and corrupted right from the start.
JP Morgan, the American financial company, was also sued by the Nigerian government for financial negligence. The said bank was the payment manager for the Malabu Oil and Gas fraud deal. Presently, the accused parties continue to defend the transaction. They deny that the OPL 245 transactions were legitimate deals.