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Around the World

ENI’s MD is furious after being linked to Nigerian fraud case

Claudio Descalzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the embattled Italian energy firm, ENI S.p.A, has instituted legal action against Piero Amara, the company’s former legal adviser whose recent testimony allegedly defamed the CEO.

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ENI

Claudio Descalzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the embattled Italian energy firm, ENI S.p.A, has instituted legal action against Piero Amara, the company’s former legal adviser whose recent testimony allegedly defamed the CEO.

Amara, who is one of the major witnesses in the rather protracted corruption case, had told investigators that the CEO allegedly obstructed justice.

The Denial: ENI’s CEO disputed this claim and is claiming defamation of his character. The energy company has also described the allegations as completely groundless.

In the same vein, the company has absorbed itself of any wronging in the Malabu corruption scandal that also involved Shell and several high-profile personalities, including Nigeria’s former oil minister,  Dan Etete.

[READ: FIRS demands evidence of $2 million tax remittance from General Electric]

The intrigues: In the meantime, other witnesses have equally leveled allegations against ENI’s management, claiming that the company knew about the corruption that happened but chose to cover it up.

A former manager at ENI and a defendant in the ongoing litigation, Vincenzo Armanna, told prosecutors on Wednesday that ENI officials (including the CEO), knew that part of the proceeds from the controversial Nigerian oil deal would go into the wrong hands.

Specifically, Armanna stated that ENI officials drafted the documents (including an escrow agreement) that specified that Nigeria’s former oil minister, Entete, would receive as much as $1 billion in kickbacks.

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It is, however, left for the court to ascertain the authenticity of this claim because, for all we know, Armanna could have said all these in a desperate bid to drag others along with himself.

The Backstory: In 2011, a Nigerian oil contract went awry after it was marred in a corruption scandal. The controversial oil deal — the OPL 245 oilfield — was said to have been signed off to Shell and ENI after both companies allegedly paid bribes to Nigerian officials to the tune of $1.1 billion.

The man who is alleged to have received a bulk of the bribe is former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, who used his company to receive kickbacks from the deal.

This deal is the basis for the ongoing corruption case involving everyone from ENI, Shell, and some of its top officials.

Both companies have continued to deny their alleged involvement in the shadiness that characterised the OPL 245 deal.

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Note that in December 2018, the Nigerian Federal Government dragged the Royal Dutch Shell and ENI before a London commercial court over the scandal. The Government is demanding for $1.1 billion.

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READ FURTHER: Nigerian billionaires, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola make Anthony Joshua feel at home

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Around the World

President Biden conducts first military airstrike against Iran-backed militia in Syria

The US has carried out military action in an approved airstrike against Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria.

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Joe Biden gains additional 4.6 million Twitter followers in less than 12 hours

U.S President, Joe Biden conducted his first military action in an approved airstrike against Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria, in a response to rocket attacks against American interests in Iraq.

This was disclosed in a report by Reuters on Friday morning, which revealed that the airstrikes were “limited in scope, potentially lowering the risk of escalation.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria.”

“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” he added.

The Pentagon revealed that the airstrikes were targeted at multiple facilities used by Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) at a Border Control point.

What you should know 

  • The attacks come just a month after Nairametrics reported that Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
  • Also this week, Joe Biden revoked former President, Donald Trump’s order that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States.

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Around the World

President Biden revokes Trump’s ban for green card applicants in US

Joe Biden has revoked Donald Trump’s order that blocked many green card applicants from entering the US.

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What would a Joe Biden Presidency mean for Nigeria?

The United States President, Joe Biden, on Wednesday, revoked former President Donald Trump’s order that blocked many green card applicants from entering the United States.

Biden rescinded Trump’s proclamation limiting the number of new work visas for temporary foreign workers in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report from Reuters, the order by President Biden was provided by a communication from the White House on Wednesday, February 25, 2021.

READ: China becomes European Union’s biggest trading partner, as it overtakes US

Former President Donald Trump had in June 2020, signed the proclamation that suspended certain categories of non-immigrant work visas as part of the effort to revive the US economy and the need to protect US workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, President Biden rejected that reasoning in a proclamation while rescinding the visa ban and said it had prevented families from reuniting in the United States and harmed US businesses.

He pointed out that the suspension of entry imposed in Proclamation 10014, does not advance the interest of the United States.

What you should know

  • The newly sworn US President had pledged to reverse many of Trump’s hardline immigration policies with immigrant advocates recently asking him to lift the visa ban, which was set to expire on March 31.
  • The suspension order by former President Donald Trump for a certain category of non-immigrant work visas includes H-1B visas for work in high-tech industries and a range of others for low-skill workers, interns, teachers, and company transfers
  • In October, a federal judge in California blocked Trump’s ban on those foreign guest workers as it affected hundreds of thousands of US businesses that fought the policy in court.

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UK’s Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers not self employed

UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers be classified as workers rather than self-employed.

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Uber, Should Nigeria follow suit as Uber loses operating license in London?, Christmas hell as Uber hikes fares

The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that the ride-hailing app firm Uber must classify its drivers as workers rather than self-employed.

Delivering his judgment, Lord Leggatt said that the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Uber’s appeal that it was an intermediary party and stated that drivers should be considered to be working not only when driving a passenger, but whenever logged in to the app.

By this pronouncement and ruling by the Supreme Court, the ride-hailing app firm, Uber must classify its drivers as workers rather than self-employed, BBC reports.

What they are saying

The former Uber drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, who originally won an employment tribunal against the ride-hailing giant in October 2016, told the BBC they were “thrilled and relieved” by the ruling.

Aslam, president of the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) said,

  • “I think it’s a massive achievement in a way that we were able to stand up against a giant.
  • “We didn’t give up and we were consistent – no matter what we went through emotionally or physically or financially, we stood our ground.
  • “This is a win-win-win for drivers, passengers and cities. It means Uber now has the correct economic incentives not to oversupply the market with too many vehicles and too many drivers”

Aslam claims that Uber’s practices forced him to leave the trade as he couldn’t make ends meet is reconsidering his decision as he returns to driving for the app again, though the process is taking too long.

“It took us six years to establish what we should have got in 2015. Someone somewhere, in the government or the regulator, massively let down these workers, many of whom are in a precarious position

Farrar, on his own part, highlighted that with fares down 80% due to the pandemic, many drivers have been struggling financially and feel trapped in Uber’s system.

  • “We’re seeing many of our members earning £30 gross a day right now. The self-employment grants issued by the government only cover 80% of a driver’s profits, which isn’t even enough to pay for their costs.
  • “If we had these rights today, those drivers could at least earn a minimum wage to live on.”

What you should know

  • By this decision, tens of thousands of Uber drivers are set to be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay.
  • The proximate implication of this ruling is that Uber could be facing a hefty compensation bill and have wider consequences for the gig economy.
  • The gig economy is based on flexible, temporary, or freelance jobs, often involving connecting with clients or customers through an online platform.
  • In a long-running legal battle, Uber had appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds.
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling that Uber has to consider its drivers “workers” from the time they log on to the app, until they log off is seen as a key point.

Uber drivers typically spend time waiting for people to book rides on the app. Previously, the firm had said that if drivers were found to be workers, then it would only count the time during journeys when a passenger is in the car.

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