A United Kingdom (UK) court, on Friday May 22, 2020, threw out a $1.1 billion lawsuit instituted by the Nigerian government against oil giants, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, with respect to a dispute over the OPL 245 oil field.
The Nigerian government, who filed the case at a commercial court in 2018, alleged that the two multinational oil firms were aware that $1.1 billion from the payment made to secure an oil license was used for bribes and kickbacks.
The UK judge in charge of the case dismissed it on the grounds that the UK court did not have jurisdiction to try the lawsuit, just as it had the same facts for which Shell and Eni were currently undergoing trial in an Italian court.
In 2011, Shell and Eni, paid $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government for the acquisition of an oil block prospecting license. However, it was alleged that about $1.1 billion of that amount ended up in the account of Malabo Oil and Gas, which was owned by the then Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete and was used to pay political bribes.
He was alleged to have secretly awarded the oil fields to Malabo which he owns. Both oil firms have however, consistently denied being aware that the money would be used as bribes, but a report alleged that senior Shell executives were briefed on how the money would be used.
Shell and Eni are already being investigated over the matter. In February 2016, Italian and Dutch prosecutors began a formal investigation into the activities of Shell in acquiring OPL 245 having already began investigations on Eni officials in 2014.
Shell and Eni are still on trial in Milan under the Italian legislation that mandates that companies will be liable for crimes committed by directors and executives when a suspected unlawful conduct has benefitted the legal entity.
While the Italian trial is in its final stages, other lawsuits are pending elsewhere over the same Nigerian oil deal.
A spokesman for Nigeria expressed the country’s disappointment at the court’s decision to decline jurisdiction. He said that the country would continue to support the criminal proceedings still going on in the Italian court and seek permission to appeal the decision in UK court.
Why Okonjo-Iweala should win the WTO DG role – Prof. Moghalu
Professor Kingsley Moghalu has thrown support behind Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to win the World Trade Organization top job.
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has publicly canvassed support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to win the World Trade Organization (WTO) top job.
The former professor of public policy at Fletcher School, Tufts University, made the disclosure via his official Twitter handle, as seen by Nairametrics
Prof. Moghalu made a strong case for why Africa’s candidate should be considered for the top shot, noting that the need for Africa to get a better deal in the world trading system should be a major criterion in selecting the next WTO DG. He also believed that correcting this negatively skewed trade deal will help tackle poverty and underdevelopment in Africa.
The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-general of @wto https://t.co/G4Fyxd1z91
— Kingsley Moghalu (@MoghaluKingsley) October 26, 2020
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee have emerged as the last two candidates for the top WTO job.
Prof. Moghalu also disclosed that the final selection decision is expected this week or very early next week.
Prof. Moghalu said, “The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn, I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-General of @wto.
“The final selection decision is expected this week or very early next. Alongside the case for why the African candidate Okonjo-Iweala is best placed to lead WTO, I make the case for the continent more broadly as to how and why it must get a better deal in the world trading system.”
What this means
If finally selected for the top job, the opportunity will present Dr. Okonjo the platform to solve some global trade-related issues, one of which is Africa’s trade position with the rest of the world.
Buhari in crucial meeting with Obasanjo, other former heads of state
President Buhari is presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
Although the agenda of the meeting is not made public, issues bothering on the current security situation in the country are believed to top the agenda. This follows the outbreak of violence across the country during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of public assets and private properties.
According to media reports, the meeting which is coordinated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in virtual attendance General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of interim national government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Others who are physically present at the council chambers are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai, among others are attending with the President.
This meeting is coming a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the security situation in the country calling for an end to the #EndSARS protests as their voices have been loudly heard.
Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website
Senatorial, State House of Assembly bye-elections postponed – INEC
Senatorial and State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states have been postponed by INEC.
The 6 Senatorial and 9 State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states of the Federation has been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The vacancies were as a result of death and resignation of previous members.
According to the statement issued by its National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq., INEC said the decision was taken after meeting with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) October 22, 2020
Though the commission did not categorically state the reason for the postponement, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the raging #EndSARS protests across the nation.