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Eni S.p.A accuses Nigeria, US litigation funder of lack of transparency

Eni S.p.A accuses both Nigeria and US investment firm of lack of transparency in its in a long-running dispute over a 2011 transaction.

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NLNG signs 10 year sales deal with Eni  

Eni S.p.A has accused both Nigeria and US investment firm assisting the country with its litigation against the Italian oil giant and Royal Dutch Shell of lack of transparency in the $1.1 billion energy deal.

The Italian oil firm is seeking documents from the US investment firm helping Nigeria in the criminal corruption trial.

Eni S.p.A claim that undisclosed interests are driving the Nigerian government’s litigation strategy at the expense of Eni’s contractual rights and the national interest of Nigeria. The Italian oil company wants permission to subpoena information from the investment firm, Drumcliffe Partners LLC to help it file its defense in the corruption trial in Milan, which Nigeria has joined as a civil party.

This is the latest episode in a long-running dispute over a 2011 transaction, which set Nigeria against the 2 oil companies. The bribery case revolves around the purchase of OPL 245 offshore field, some 150 km off the Niger Delta, for about $1.3 billion from Malabu, a company owned by former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete.

Eni, in a memorandum filed in a US district court in Wilmington, Delaware, on October 6, said that Nigeria’s government initially supported Eni’s plans for developing its offshore permit known as Oil Prospecting License 245, but subsequently elected to wage a “multi-jurisdictional litigation campaign” against the company.

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The Italian oil firm said it now has reasons to believe Nigeria’s actions are driven by third parties seeking to earn illicit profits and has applied for authorization to request that seven Delaware-registered Drumcliffe companies produce documents on the arrangements they set up for Nigeria’s OPL 245 litigation.

Drumcliffe’s Principal, Jim Little said, “We look forward to discrediting Eni’s conspiracy theories and wild innuendos. The application to the court is entirely baseless.’’

Shell and Eni have been on trial in Milan since 2018. Italian prosecutors say the companies obtained the permit 9 years ago by paying almost $1.1 billion into an escrow account for the Nigerian government. Prosecutors allege that most of those funds were siphoned off to politicians and middlemen with a huge part of it going to Etete himself.

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Backstory

Nairametrics had reported that the Nigerian government, through its lawyer, Lucio Mucia, at a hearing into the alleged corruption linked to Eni and Shell’s acquisition of OPL 245, called for a guilty verdict and an advance payment of about $1.1 billion for damages in one of the oil industry’s biggest-ever corruption trials.

Eni and Shell have, however, denied any wrongdoing and say they acquired OPL 245 through legitimate agreements with the Nigerian government, which required settling Malabu’s outstanding claim to the block.

To litigate its OPL 245-related claims, Nigeria retained the Lagos-based law firm Johnson & Johnson, which then entered into a funding agreement with Drumcliffe, Eni said.

According to a memorandum from Eni, a Nigerian media outlet in August published what it said was the contract between the law firm and Drumcliffe. Certain clauses of the opaque and ambiguous deal indicated that the litigation funder could be entitled to as much as 35% of the funds recovered by the government or nearly $400 million in the case of the Milan trial.

Eni said it requires information from Drumcliffe to better understand the funding arrangement. Also, that the allegation that Drumcliffe may have financed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Eni, in exchange for an enormous and disproportionate economic return deserves clear answers, a spokesman for the Italian company said.

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However, Drumcliffe and Johnson & Johnson deny allegations that the U.S. firm stands to collect a sizable portion of what the Nigerian government manages to recoup, and describes reports of such potential returns as false and sensational.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Inferno razes down SUBEB office in Ondo State

The SUBEB annex office in Akure, Ondo State has been razed down by a mysterious fire.

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Inferno raze down SUBEB office in Ondo state

The Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) annex office in Oke Eda, Akure has been allegedly razed down by fire. The inferno affected the marketing office of the state government-owned television station, which also housed the building.

The cause of the inferno still remains unknown, as investigations are underway.

What you should know

Recently there have been reported cases of arson, lootings, and killings perpetrated by hoodlums. It is yet to be known if this incident is related to the hijacked #EndSARS protests.

(READ MORE: BRT owners, Primero says they lost N100 million to #ENDSARS violence)

What they are saying

Confirming the incident, an anonymous staff opined that the fire incident might have happened overnight. She also said that all buildings and files in the offices were affected by the fire.

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“All the buildings, because it was made of wood, are gone. It was completely burnt.

“We can’t lay our hands on anything. Everything in the office is gone,” she said.

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Business

Ebute Metta Railway station will be completed by December – Presidency

President Buhari’s aide has disclosed that Ebute Metta Railway Station is expected to be completed in the next two months.

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Ebute Metta Railway Station is 99% ready- Presidency

The Ebute Metta Railway Station, one of the stations on the Lagos-Ibadan railway route is expected to be completed by December 2020.

This is according to the Personal Assistant on New Media to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bashir Ahmad, who disclosed this on Monday, through his verified Twitter handle.

Mr. Ahmad further revealed that the station and other stations on the route are expected to be completed by December.

“The Ebute Metta Railway station, one of the stations on the Lagos-Ibadan Railway route is nearly completed, the station and other stations on the route are expected to be completed by December,” he tweeted.

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What you should know

Nairametrics had earlier revealed that the $1.6 billion Lagos-Ibadan railway project will be completed on or before January 2021. This is according to a forecast by the honorable Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

(READ MORE:FG to complete Marine beach bridge repairs ahead of due date)

Why it matters

The near completion status of the Ebute Metta railway station is a big boost to achieving the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project. The railway project will help in decongesting our roads and enable the roads to last longer.

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This is a big boost to the government’s drive to build strategic infrastructures that will drive economic growth and development.

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7 stowaways, including Nigerians, arrested after suspected hijacking off Isle of Wight

Seven suspects were detained after a hijacking involving stowaways on a tanker off the Isle of Wight.

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7 stowaways, including Nigerians, arrested after suspected hijacking off Isle of Wight, ABCON shakes the table, Nigeria imported, Petrol import drops as importation of cooking gas increases by 21% 

7 stowaways, including Nigerians on board a Liberian registered oil tanker heading for England have been detained, after a suspected hijacking off the coast of Isle of Wight.

This was announced by the UK’s Ministry of Defence and several British News Media on Sunday evening.

READ: #EndSARS: UK ready to support genuine reform of police in Nigeria – British High Commissioner 

The Ministry of Defence said: “In response to a police request, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary authorised Armed Forces personnel to board a ship in the English Channel to safeguard life and secure a ship that was subject to suspected hijacking.

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READ: #EndSARS: Coca-Cola donates N20 million to cover medical bills of victims

“Armed forces have gained control of the ship and seven individuals have been detained. Police investigations will now continue. Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well.”

According to BBC, the ship, Nave Andromeda, was on its way to the Fawley oil refinery in Southampton from Lagos, Nigeria and left Nigeria on the 5th of October.

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READ: Bank CEOs ‘explain’ why they resigned from NESG

“According to a source close to the shipping company, the crew were aware of stowaways on board, but the stowaways became violent towards the crew while it was off the Isle of Wight.

“The crew retreated to the ship’s citadel, a secure area in which they can lock themselves, making it impossible for attackers to get in.

READ: #EndSARS: FG creates new N25 billion Youth Fund, to increase to N75 billion in 3 years

“This is standard procedure during a terrorist or pirate attack, but there is no suggestion the crew were doing more than protecting themselves from the stowaways. The crew contacted the coastguard, which then alerted police.

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“The men, from Nigeria and Liberia, waved metal poles and threw faeces and urine after being found hiding on the Grande Tema,” BBC said.

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The British Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood, said the stowaways taking over the ship, or forcing the ship not to be in command could have triggered a ” multi-agency alarm” which caused protocols to be put into action.

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