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Court adjourns trial of Shell, Eni officials over bribery allegation in Nigeria

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Shell ENI, Aliyu Abubakar, AA Oil, Malabu Oil, Italian prosecutors, Netherlands, Niger Delta
  • Executives of oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, are currently facing trial in Italy over the $1.1 billion Malabu affair.
  • An Italian court today postponed to May 14 the start of the trial of the two oil-giants over alleged corruption in Nigeria.

The trial in Italy of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni executives over alleged corruption in Nigeria involving the $1.3 billion controversial sales of OPL 245 oil block has suffered another postponement till May 14.

The case popularly referred to as Malabu Oil deal involves the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield – one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks – for about $1.3 billion. Milan prosecutors had alleged that bribes were paid to win the license to explore the field, which has never entered into production. All the accused have however denied any wrongdoing.

A Former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, and a former Attorney-General, Bello Adoke, are amongst several Nigerians indicted in the deal, which was approved by Former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Shell claimed it bought the OPL 245 oil block for $1.3 billion dollars in 2011  supposedly from the Federal Government. Ultimately the money found its way to Dan Etete, a former Petroleum Minister and Owner of Malabu Oil Company who acquired the block from the Federal Government in 1998 for $20 million dollars. He was also petroleum minister at the period.

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Courtesy: Global Witness

According to Buzzfeed, 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.

Several top-ranking civil servants and politicians were alleged to have collected kickbacks from the deal. This led the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) going to court, which led to an interim forfeiture order. About $80 million of the funds have been recovered by the Federal Government.

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Fikayo has a degree in computer science with economics from Obafemi Awolowo University. ITIL v3 in IT service management. An alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy. Prior to joining Nairametrics had stinct in Project management, Telecommunications among others. Also training in Consulting and Investment banking from Edubridge Academy. He has very keen interest in Politics, Agri-business, private equity and global economics. He loves travelling and watching football. You can contact him via [email protected]

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Tech News

Elon Musk to offer $100 million prize for best carbon capture technology

Elon Musk has announced a donation of $100 million prize money for the best technology that can capture carbon dioxide.

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Elon Musk needs $20 billion wealth gain to clinch world's richest man title

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk on Thursday took to Twitter to promise a $100 million prize for the development of the “best” carbon capture technology.

Elon Musk wrote in a tweet, “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” details next week.

Carbon capture technology is designed to prevent the release of CO2 generated through conventional power generation and industrial production processes by injecting the CO2 into suitable underground storage reservoirs.

According to Reuters, “Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.”

Since the tweet was shared, it has garnered thousands of responses from people because of the jaw-dropping cash prize. A lot of people have started sharing their carbon capture ideas.

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The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.

Newly-sworn-in U.S. President, Joe Biden has pledged to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change. On Thursday, he named Jennifer Wilcox, an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Besides Tesla, Elon also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

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Business News

WHO warns Africa in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination

The WHO has warned that Africa is in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination.

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Africa is in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination as countries from other regions strike bilateral deals, thereby driving up prices.

This follows the development and approval of safe and effective vaccine less than a year after the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, regarded as a stunning achievement.

This disclosure was made by the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti while speaking during a virtual press conference which was facilitated by APO Group.

Dr Moeti was joined at the press briefing by the Managing Director, Country Programmes, Gavi, Thabani Maphosa and UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed Fall.

What the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa is saying

Dr Moeti stated that as of early this week, 40 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in 50 mostly high-income countries with Guinea being the only low-income country on the continent to have provided doses to only 25 people so far.

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According to her, Seychelles is the only high-income country on the continent where a national Covid-19 vaccination campaign has started.

She said, “We first, not me first, is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccine hoarding will only prolong the ordeal and delay Africa’s recovery. It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe.

“Health workers and vulnerable people in Africa need urgent access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.’’

What the Managing Director, Country Programmes, GAVI, is saying

Mr Thabani Maphosa, the Managing Director, Country Programmes at GAVI, a partner in the alliance, was quoted as saying delivery would begin soon.

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He said, “COVAX is on track to start delivering vaccine doses and begin ensuring global access to vaccines. This massive international undertaking has been made possible thanks to donations work towards dose-sharing deals and deals with manufacturers that have brought us to almost 2 billion doses secured. We look forward to rollout in the coming weeks.”

What you should know

  • COVAX facility is an international alliance which is backed by the WHO, Gavi, the vaccine alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), to ensure equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines among all countries regardless of income level.
  • The alliance has secured 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for Africa from 5 producers, with options of over 1 billion more doses.
  • COVAX has committed to vaccinating no fewer than 20% of the population in Africa by the end of 2021.
  • Priority will be given to health workers and other vulnerable groups, such as older persons and those with pre-existing health conditions.
  • An initial 30 million vaccine doses are expected to begin arriving in countries by March.
  • The United Nations in its report said that a maximum of 600 million doses will be disbursed, based on 2 doses per person.

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Google threatens to remove its search engine from Australia due to media code

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia due to the media code introduced by the government.

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Google made a whooping $4.7b from news content in 2018, Google Threatens To Remove Its Search Engine From Australia Due To Media Code

Google said that it will disable its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a media code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay local media companies for sharing their content.

The code requires Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach an agreement over the value of their content within three months.

It also requires the platforms to give the news businesses 14 days’ notice of algorithm changes, and non-discrimination provisions have been put in place to stop the tech giants from taking retaliatory action such as removing content or punishing organisations that participate in the code.

READ: Satoshi Nakamoto’s unspent BTCs worth $10.9 billion

Mel Silva, Google Australia and New Zealand VP told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee today that Google would shut off the search in Australia if the government’s proposed media bargaining code becomes law. According to her, “The code’s arbitration model with bias criteria presents an unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google”

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Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation found Alphabet Inc-owned Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

READ: Facebook Oversight Board to review decision to suspend Trump’s account

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said Australia would not respond to the threats as news media companies fired back at suggestions their content did not add value to the platforms. “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government, and that’s how things work here in Australia,” he said. “People who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”

READ: Betting on Bitcoin is better than investing in PayPal, Google, Facebook, Amazon

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What you should know

  • Google’s threats follow similar remarks made by Facebook Australia’s managing director, Will Easton in September, who announced plans to remove news articles from the social media’s main app if the media code is passed by Parliament.
  • To avoid the operation of the code, Google and Facebook have no option but to cease linking to news altogether. If Google can’t reliably separate news results from other search results, then logically it may have to pull its entire search service from Australia.
  • Google’s threat to limit its services in Australia came just hours after the internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers.
  • This new media code will affect millions of Australians who use Google Search and Facebook every month.

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