The scam is being investigated in Nigeria, Italy and Netherlands due to the participation of oil giants Shell and ENI.
Below are 12 things you should know about the controversial Malabu oil deal:
1. Former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, who was appointed by late dictator Sani Abacha, acquired “OPL 245” through his company, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited while in office in 1998.
2. The deal was struck only five days after the company was incorporated with three shareholders; Mohammed Sani Abacha , Kweku Amafagha (a fake name created by Etete) and Hassan Hindu (wife of a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK).
3. Etete illegally awarded himself the oil block and paid only $2 million out of the $20 million legally required by the state.
4. The oil block, which is said to have about 9 billion barrels of crude oil, was sold to Shell and ENI for $1.3 billion in 2011.
5. However, Shell and ENI did not want to deal directly with Etete, who had been convicted in France for his part in a separate money laundering scandal, so they sent the money to an account belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria in JP Morgan bank, London.
6. The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the Goodluck Jonathan regime, then transferred $801 million of the money into accounts controlled by Malabu and Etete in Nigeria.
7. The money was then allegedly shared to various public officials in Nigeria as bribes while the government got only the sum of $210m USD as signature bonus on OPL 245.
8. Officials accused of receiving bribes in connection with the deal include, Goodluck Jonathan, former Nigerian Attorney General, Mohammed Bello Adoke and former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
9. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a nine-count criminal charge against Adoke, SAN, and eight others over the oil block scam.
10. Fresh evidence based on a report released by watchdog groups, Global Witness and Finance Uncovered shows that top executives at Shell and ENI knew that the money they paid for oil block “OPL 245” would go to Etete.
11. Shell and ENI have denied wrongdoing even though emails shared by Shell staff show that its executives were negotiating directly with Etete for a year before the deal was finalized.
12. Goodluck Jonathan is alleged to have received up to $200 million from the controversial deal.
Meanwhile, Shell has, through spokesman, Andy Norman, admitted that it knew the $1.3 billion paid by itself and ENI would be used to settle Etete.
“Over time, it became clear to us that Etete was involved in Malabu and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Etete and Malabu, whether we liked it or not,” Norman told the New York Times via an email sent on Monday, April 10.
Jonathan has however denied the allegations, attributing them to people who are threatened by his rising international profile.