Shocking court documents obtained in the City of Milan, Italy, on Monday night, have revealed that former President, Goodluck Jonathan, is set to be arrested and extradited to Italy, to face prosecution over corruption charges.
The news of his possible arrest, has sparked wide spread anger in Bayelsa State, the home town of the former President.
Italian Prosecutors, have alleged that Jonathan and his Oil Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, received kickbacks as part of a $1.3 billion deal, involving oil giants ENI and Shell.
They are alleged to have played a central role in the deal, which saw ENI and Shell make a $1.3 billion payment in 2011, for an offshore oil block in Nigeria.
Although, no formal charges have been brought, and the parties usually have 20 days to respond to the conclusion of the preliminary investigation report, before any formal prosecution.
ENI’s Chief Executive, Claudio Descalzi, and his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni, met Jonathan “in person”, to thrash out the deal, which also involved former British Intelligence Agents, working as Advisors for Shell, it was alleged.
The Prosecutors alleged that ENI and Shell Executives, worked with Nigerian Businessman, Dan Etete, who was oil Minister under the military ruler, Sani Abacha, from 1995 to 1998.
Etete’s company, Malabu, was the “fraudulent holder” of the OPL 245 block, according to the court documents.
After talks in Milan and Abuja, the block was bought illegally by the oil majors, in contravention of domestic laws, “without competitive tendering”, and with “full, unconditional exemption from all national taxes”, the Prosecutors said.
A total of $801.5 million, was allegedly transferred to Etete’s Malabu accounts, of which $466 million was converted into cash in Nigeria, and used for remunerating government officials, including Jonathan and Alison-Madueke, the Prosecutors said.
A further $54 million was withdrawn by Abubakar Aliyu, whom the Prosecutors describe as an “agent” of Jonathan.
The beneficiaries of the money went on a shopping spree, buying “properties, private jets, armored cars,” the Prosecutors added.
ENI and Royal Dutch Shell, have both denied any wrongdoing.
Shell said in an email: “We are aware of the investigation, and we hope to show the Prosecutor that there is no basis to prosecute Shell.
“Shell takes this matter seriously, and is co-operating with the authorities.”
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has also recently pressed charges in connection with the same oil block deal.
Charges were “filed towards the end of last year”, the EFCC Spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed.
Anti-corruption campaigners view the case as a classic example of graft in Nigeria, but also an indication of the difficulty in tackling the problem, when it crosses international borders.