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International Law & Partnerships for Curtailing Oil Industry Corruption in a Post-Covid Era: Insights from Malabu – Dr. Onome Lisa Ejenavi

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The Petroleum industry of most developing countries, especially petro-reliant states and even globally has been gravely impacted by the cascading effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The industry grapples with a dual-pronged and unprecedented dilemma: An oil price war, and an overwhelmingly severe Covid -19 impact. Moreover, other underlying issues such as a steep drop in oil prices, OPEC/Russia divergent views on oil prices & cuts, as OPEC and allied countries often in the quest for stabilized oil prices moved to cut down combined output by 9.7 million bpd. This was inevitable due to the fact of oil demand/supply imbalance occurring simultaneously with the decline in chemical and fossil fuels use necessitated by global lockdowns, industrial slowdowns, travel bans or other restrictions, and disruptions flowing from Covid-19 implementation protocols.

Most petro-reliant countries are confronted with undeniable and unsustainable debt profile, unmanageable borrowing, corruption, illicit financial flows. Petro-reliant states like Nigeria which have failed to effectively diversify their economies and are far from optimizing a transition to cleaner energies are at risk of the multi-varied impacts of the unprecedented global economic down-turn & market contraction triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Likewise, declining oil revenues and glaring absence of technological innovation in the area of cleaner alternative energy exacerbates an already grim economic scenario. All too clearly, calls for economic diversification in petroleum resource driven countries like Nigeria were largely unproductive in terms of adequacy of governance strategic efforts, planning and targeted growth drives to strengthen other economic sectors.

Effectively, the short-medium term projections for high-cost production, smaller operations & corporations with high debt profile are confronted with a bleak & steeply challenging future as the threats of loss of business and liquidation become all too real. Indeed, IOCs, indigenous petroleum producing companies and other oil industry servicing establishments are most likely targets for lay-offs and reorganisation. Some that could escape the dire impacts of the crises, may in any case modify or speed-up diversification efforts into other alternative energy sectors with likely and corresponding effects on the petroleum industry.

Thus, the global oil industry is confronted with the nagging issue of security of assets, (comprising but not limited to oil fields, plants, refineries, etc.) the need to secure and maintain operations optimally whilst navigating the Covid-19 precautionary measures. Further, the industry needs to bolster up to countering and mitigating supply and industry value-chain risks especially across multi-state and multi-lateral actors. Even more worrisome is the issue of talent retention, investment retention and attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI), whilst hanging on to revenue lifelines and business sustainability in the midst of a severe oil price glut and looming threats of further divestments by wary investors, remains optimal priority.

As a matter of fact the Economic downturn impacting the industry primarily compels oil producers to defer key investments decisions, with IOCs adopting steeper, desperate, cost saving measures, budget reviews as well as severe debt servicing agreements. Some petroleum regulatory pro-Covid interventions included a declaration of “force majeure & other stay at home directives” as steps to control the pandemic, rendering most employment contracts nugatory. Notwithstanding all of these intersecting and multiple interests and concerns of the petroleum industry, the overarching targets remain: Effective Response strategies, Optimal Recovery actions and Oil industry sustainability. To achieve these ends, oil producing states have to balance the trade-offs between immediate needs bordering on securing all 3 pillars of the sustainable development paradigm, via a sustainable oil industry governance structure that necessitates the fight against oil industry corruption which remains invariably antithetical to growth and development objectives.

In addressing measures to tackle petroleum industry corruption, it is clarified that petroleum being a global commodity requires globally concerted efforts in the form of international collaboration and partnerships to mobilize for its extermination especially in developing states. More so, the UN in specifically advocating international partnerships to engender transparency and tackle corruption for effective, accountable and sustainable governance provides in Chapter, 1. Art.1. (a-b) of the UN Corruption Convention (UNCAC), the inevitability of international partnerships to combat corruption.[2] The Convention further asserts that, “corruption is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that affects all societies and economies, making international cooperation to prevent and control it essential.”[3] Sustainable governance, therefore, predicates the exigency of corruption prevention which is interlinked with transparency, strong institutions and accountable governance structures. [4] Indeed, in describing the considerable menace posed by corruption, including the threats to sustainable development and thus necessitating international partnerships for the control. The UN asserts that;

“Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish”.[5]

1.3. Supporting Framework for Tackling Corruption Via Cooperation at International Law

The fight against corruption in concert with the UNCAC has been further amplified by the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention (CoE Convention). This was adopted in January 1999. The Preamble of the Convention establishes the need to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at protecting society against corruption by emphasizing on an escalated, rapid, prompt and multi-level international cooperation in criminal matters.[6] The Convention requires that state parties criminalize bribery, trading influence, and other acts denoted as account offences. The Europe Criminal Law Convention specifically criminalizes bribery in both active or passive angles. The Convention imposes a crime of bribery which may cut across domestic, foreign and international public servants.

In Art.25 of the CoE, which is in tandem with Art. 46 of the UNCAC, international Collaboration is posited as the crucial means to delimit international corruption. It provides “…state parties afford one another the widest measure of mutual legal assistance in investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings…in relation to Convention offences”[7] It further encourages a conjunctive approach with other international instruments such as the UNCAC and the OECD Convention to particularly control bribery. Art.15, of the UNCAC establishes a commission of bribery where “The promise, offering, or giving to a public official, directly or indirectly of an undue advantage for the official himself or herself or another person or entity in order that the official act or refrain from acting in the exercising of his or her official duties.”[8] Art.1 of the CoE Convention provides, “…it shall be an offence for a foreign public official to make offers in order to obtain or retain business or other improper advantages in the conduct of international business”.[9]

A foreign public official was described as any person holding a: legislative, executive, administrative or judicial office of a foreign country, whether appointed or elected and any person exercising a public function for a foreign country, including for a public agency, enterprise or provides a public service in the domestic law. And even more importantly, the foreign country does not need to be a state party to the Convention. The Conventions further clarified bribery to crucially include an “Undue Advantage” which may be pecuniary or non-pecuniary, need not be proffered or extended immediately or directly, to the state’s public official, however for the offence of bribery to be established, an alleged bribe must be linked to the official duties. Such undue advantage must be of an economic quality. The essence of the offence is proved when the offeror of the bribe would be placed in a more advantageous and beneficial position than that preceding the bribery act.

The receiving public official on the other hand must not be legitimately or lawfully entitled to the benefit.[10] Even more crucial is the need for a manifest “intent” or ulterior motive to influence the conduct of the offending public official. Thus, the intent may likewise be inferred or construed from an objective set of facts.[11] In the event of a failure to establish the commission of bribery, “the intent” as indicated by Art.27 of the UNCAC can successfully sustain an attempt to commit bribery in contravention of the Convention. In Art. 16(4) The Convention clarifies the exigency of state parties to ensure that legal persons are subject to effective proportionate and dissuasive criminal or non-criminal sanctions including monetary sanctions. The United Kingdom in pushing this agenda forward, reinforces it further by the provisions of the Bribery Act 2010. S.7 of the Bribery Act actually makes it a strict liability, offence for a relevant commercial organisation to fail to prevent bribery by a person associated with it. Therefore, S.7(1) more specifically applies where the alleged bribery is committed with an intention to obtain or retain economic and business advantages for an organisation’s benefit.

Furthermore, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Anti-bribery Convention (2014 report) targeting transnational corruption which relied on data from over 427 case procedures from 1999, it was quite evident that one in five cases or (19%) of transnational corruption took place in the oil or extractives sector. This is indicative of the fact that, the oil industry realistically poses a global and intransigent challenge in terms of corruption, even surpassing arms dealing.[12] The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is herein relevant, as it has extra-territorial implications against the bulk of International Oil Companies (IOCs) which have their registered headquarters in OECD states.

Evidently, the key reasons why the oil and gas industry remains susceptible to a substantial risk of corruption can be attributable to the fact of its high liquidity and mammoth cash or financial flows. Also, Petro-business or oil trade itself necessitates extensive or considerable interactions with numerous public officials and government agents, especially in cases of government-owned or national oil companies (NOCs). All too often, opportunities abound for public officers to abuse their office. More so, crude sales or transactions along the petroleum industry value chain comprising, licensing, revenues, procurement, production, expenditure, etc., and corresponding actors can be extremely opaque.[13] Indeed, in many cases, sales transactions are not clearly subjected to specific regulations or international standards.[14]

Thus, for targeted efforts at oil industry management aimed at corruption prevention, there should be transparency along the petroleum industry value chain.[15] This includes: transparency in the allocation and registration of petroleum contracts and leases, the beneficiaries of those contracts should be known, as well as the overall impacts of petroleum sales, revenue in-flows and expenditure in the oil producing state’s economy to ascertain irregularities in the sector whilst prompting accountability and accurate reporting to EITI, as an international partner for sustainable development.

1.5. Nigerian Oil Industry Governance Reforms: Compliance and Enforcement Mechanisms

The fight against bribery and corruption on the Nigerian front has necessitated some concerted level of reforms to tackle the menace.  Upscaling governance measures in line with international best practices and good governance objectives for sustainable development automatically requires transparency initiatives for curtailing financial crimes or malpractices in the oil sector, including the concentration of efforts to expose bribery, fraud or other manifestations of corruption, with accompanying sanctions. In this regard, the Nigerian government instituted two anti-corruption agencies to achieve these aims, although it is clarified that the scope of these agencies extends beyond the oil industry. They include: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)[16] and the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).[17]

The above named EFCC and ICPC agencies have been accountable for the prosecution of high profile Nigerian political figures, bureaucrats and technocrats. These include: state governors for embezzlement of public funds, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, the past Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, from which the EFCC recovered the sum of $9.8 million (USD).[18] Likewise, the previous petroleum minister and former OPEC President, Allison Diezani-Madueke was charged on various counts of money laundering affecting $115 Million (USD).[19] Notwithstanding the sensational achievements, especially in terms of corruptions prosecutions, the anti-corruption efforts of these agencies have been blemished by controversies and allegations. These range from abuse of office, to engendering the political objectives of the prevailing administration in subjugating political opposition, including bribery and corruption.

Nevertheless, it is argued that these agencies have enormous potential for securing needed oil sector reforms via partnering or instituting collaboration networks with international anti-corruption agencies and actors. These actors would naturally include: The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention parties such as the UK and Norway, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement Agencies as in the Halliburton and Kellogg scandal.[20] For instance, such a collaboration was also evident in securing the arrests and subsequent prosecution of former Nigerian governors: James Ibori and Diepriye Alamieseigha of the Niger-Delta region who were charged in both the UK and Nigeria with several counts of money-laundering or theft of oil monies and public funds accruable from petroleum resources.[21] The collaboration involved the Nigerian EFCC, the Interpol, the UK Metropolitan Police, including the Crown Prosecution Service. The UK law enforcement agents authorized raids on the London offices of the ex-governor’s legal and financial associates Bhadresh Gohil, Daniel Benedict McCann and Lambertus De Boer. Also, damning evidence retrieved by the UK police and furnished at the trial included computer hard-drives evincing details of numerous off-shore companies, managed for James Ibori by Gohil. These accomplices to Ibori’s financial crimes and theft of oil funds accruing up to N40 billion ($266 million) from the Niger-Delta were subsequently sentenced to a total of 30 years imprisonment.[22]

Altogether, such international partnerships as stressed in this case, serve as the vital tools for exposing and curtailing financial crimes and corrupt acts of foreign associates of public officers, investors or IOCs who often constitute the supply side of corruption in the oil sector. Moreover, efficient networking with these international actors, FCPA[23] and the OECD can move investigations forward in Nigeria to identify and apprehend the demand side of the corrupt act, money-laundering or receiving of bribes, who are normally the: government officials, public officers, regulators or relevant government agents.[24] It is for the foregoing reasons that the EFCC in collaboration with environmental activists and international prosecutors instituted legal proceedings in Italy[25] against ENI /SHELL and Malabu over OPL 245.

1.6.  The ENI/SHELL-MALABU CASE: Prospects and Implications for Oil Industry Corruption Control

This section considers the facts and issues flowing from the ENI/SHELL/MALABU Case. It appraises this case because of its huge global profile and by virtue of the novelty in securing the trial of multi-national oil giants in a humongous corruption trajectory encompassing, multiple actors from diverse jurisdictions, via international collaboration.

1.6.1. Backdrop of Facts and Incidents.

The epic ENI/SHELL/MALABU Case[26] centred on the colossal scale oil industry corruption manifest in the Eni and Shell’s acquisition of OPL 245 in Nigeria in 2011, for $1.3bn.[27] In the case summary, 15 defendants which comprised of the Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi, his predecessor Paolo Scaroni Eni’s Chief Operations and Technology Officer Roberto Casula, Shell’s former Executive Director for Upstream International Malcolm Brinded, including two former MI6 agents employed by Shell, were fully discharged and acquitted of all charges under Article 530.1 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure.[28]

The backdrop of this case spans across the administrations of 5 respective heads of Nigerian government,[29] proceeding from Gen. Sani Abacha a military ruler as at 1993-1998, under whom 1 of the defendants Dan Etete, served as a petroleum minister between (1995-1998). Etete allegedly diverted billions of dollars and an estimated 9 billion barrels of oil in concert with the son of Gen. Abacha, with whom he set up Malabu Oil & Gas and subsequently secured the OPL 245 oil block.[30] The OPL 245 was thereafter sold to ENI & Shell which became the subject matter at the core of the Milan trial and in various litigations across other jurisdictions.[31]

Precisely in 1998, the Nigerian government awarded OPL245 for $20 million to Malabu, which was owned by Dan Etete, a petroleum minister at the time. In 1999, Etete paid out $2.04 million out of the government funds of $20 million awarded for the OPL 245. In 2001, Shell signed an MOU for the acquisition of 40% stake in OPL245 from Malabu. The Malabu OPL 245 licence was thereafter revoked by the Obasanjo administration in July 2001. This instigated the crop of issues and legal tussle bordering on the ownership and validity of OPL245.      Shell subsequently notified Malabu on the revocation and frustration of the licence and had recourse to arbitration at the ICC under the terms of the March 2001 agreement. In 2004, the ICC ruled in favour of Shell, after an agreement with the Nigerian government. However, in April 29, 2011, Malabu, Shell, Eni and the Nigerian government concluded an agreement, wherein, Malabu would restore OPL 245 back to the government for $1.092 billion. And on the other hand, Shell and Eni would pay the government $1.092 billion including a signature bonus of $208 million, accumulating into a total payment of $1.3 billion for OPL 245.

In May 2011, a payment of $1.092 billion was made into an escrow account opened by the Nigerian government with U.S. bank JP Morgan. In a curious turn of events, the sum of, $875 million was transferred to Malabu’s bank accounts. Thereafter in 2018, Dutch and Italian prosecutors instituted proceedings against Shell and ENI respectively over OPL245. Despite the contention of the Italian prosecutors that the bulk of the $1.3billion purchase price of OPL 245 was drained-off and rerouted to politicians and middlemen brokers, in March 2021, the Milan court acquitted all the defendants in the Italian trial.[32] Public outcry and criticisms ranging from displeasure at the no case to answer verdict has however greeted this judgement.[33]

The facts of this case indicate considerable infringements of the UNCAC, the OECD Convention as well as the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption (CoE Convention). Arts. 15, 16 which clarify the commission of the offence of bribery relating to the promise, offering, or exchange of pecuniary gain, which in this case amounts to at least $876 million (USD) gained by a public official (Dan Etete) relating to “the promise, offering or giving to a public official an undue advantage, for the official…or another person to act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her official duties…”[34] The UNCAC and CoE already clarify that the offence is sufficiently proved if some undue advantage is illegitimately accorded a public official with evident links to the performance of an official duty that puts the offeror of the “bribe or benefit” in a more advantageous position proceeding from when the incentive is offered, at that point, the crime becomes established.[35]

As clarified by Art.1 of the OECD, Art.15 of UNCAC, and the CoE Convention. Dan Etete, the petroleum minister at the time falls within the confines of a public officer as earlier addressed by the provisions of Art.15 of UNCAC, he unjustly gained at least $876 million traceable to his account, from the IOCs. The undue advantage gained by the minister, including the commission of acts or omissions designed to commit, conceal or disguise the commission of the Convention offences of Bribery as envisaged by the provisions of Arts. 14, 15, 16, are clearly manifest. But if in any case the offence of bribery fails, then a proof of a manifest intent or ulterior motive to influence the conduct of an offending public official should be adduced from the factual circumstances.[36] This at least fulfils the “intent” component of the Convention, which sustains the “attempt” to commit the Convention offence of Bribery. In which case, as provided by Art.26, of the UNCAC, and as amplified by Art. 16(4) CoE, necessary measures to impose “effective, proportionate, and dissuasive criminal or non-criminal sanctions, including monetary sanctions” should be applied. Despite the clarity of the intentions of the above provisions of these international instruments, which are evidently tilted towards a high level of intolerance for international bribery and corruption, the Milan court in Italy failed to bear these considerations in mind.

It is further pointed out that, the 2011 MOU deal was also entirely lop-sided in favour of Shell. Apart from a $209 million signature bonus, Nigeria stood to gain virtually nothing. Moreover, under the terms of the license, Nigeria would not have received a dime in royalties from the field, which ultimately would have resulted in Nigeria’s inevitable loss of an estimated $6 billion in future revenues which equates to twice the country’s annual health and education budget, or enough to train six million teachers.[37] Unfolding events further indicated that, all payments for the license translating to some $1.1 billion were traceable to the former oil minister, Mr. Dan Etete who had awarded the bloc to his own company, Malabu. From which he proceeded to acquire a private jet, armoured cars, and shotguns. [38]

1.6.2. Malabu Case: Judgement and Inferences Drawn

In delivering the judgement, the court concluded that, since it was a criminal trial, proof beyond reasonable doubt was required for a conviction. The judges further ruled that, “…even proof of the unlawful payment or the unlawfulness of the act are not considered sufficient, even jointly, to constitute proof of the offence of domestic or international bribery”.[39] The judges proceeded to state that “a demonstration of the agreement between the parties on corruption was required. In the judges’ view, no evidence of such an express agreement was found”.[40]  In analysing this judgement in accordance with earlier deliberations relating to proof or establishing the offence of bribery, it becomes rather glaring that the judges failed to consider the aims and objectives of the earlier assessed UNCAC, OECD and CoE Conventions which strive towards concerted international collaboration to ensure sustainable governance globally by eradicating corruption.

Even though the judges voiced concerns about the movement of nearly half a billion dollars into cash from the deal. They opined that, “The amount of untraceable money, moved in the manner described is circumstantial proof of the generically illicit nature of the payments derived from the proceeds of OPL 245, it is not, however, possible to agree with the conclusive assumption that a large part of that sum of cash – if not all of it – ended up in the hands of the Nigerian public officials who made possible the illicit agreements on OPL 245.” The judges found that the money from the OPL 245 deal went to Dan Etete, a former oil minister who while in office awarded the block to Malabu, a company he controlled. The judges also ruled that Nigeria’s former Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke did receive money from the OPL 245 deal. However, the judges decided that the money may have represented payment of a prior debt owed by Etete and that there was no evidence of a corrupt agreement. In an uncanny twist of events, the middlemen brokers who had been sentenced to jail had the sentence overturned in a successful appeal this year[41] and the Italian prosecutors are instead on trial for misconduct.[42]

In a nutshell, an overview of the judgment reveals an unusually high standard of proof requiring an admission and willingness between the parties to admit to a crime, that of bribery and corruption. The logic and plausibility of such an occurrence remains absurd. By insisting that “…even proof of the unlawful payment or the unlawfulness of the act are not considered sufficient, even jointly, to constitute proof of the offence of domestic or international bribery”,[43] it beggars the question whether the court is in fact willing to support the fight to deter oil industry corruption of such a mammoth scale. The judgment provokes a poser on how realistic is an expectation for the prosecution to secure “a demonstration of an agreement” tantamount to bribery and corruption from accused parties in a corruption trial, after successfully evidencing the paper trail reflective of the proof of the intention(s) to bribe or at least to secure an advantage (as in this case, OPL 245) by advancing illicit payments to the relevant public official.  Moreover, whether the court is in a position to infer that the sums paid-out to the other government official, Adoke was for some other debt not stated by the parties, when available evidence pointed otherwise and appeared to weigh in favour of the bribery contention of the prosecution remains doubtful going by the provisions of already appraised international instruments.

One is altogether compelled to wonder how this judgment corresponds with international anti-corruption standards. Even the United Kingdom appears more realistic in combatting international corruption by virtue of the provisions in its Bribery Act of 2010, which not only criminalizes bribery but goes so far as to impose strict liability, by making it an offence for persons to obtain or retain economic or business advantage, even on behalf of an organisation.[44] It even becomes arguable and more glaring that weaker links in the judicial system of even OECD states like Italy, can undermine the competence of international law, CoE and OECD Conventions in tackling the fight against international corruption, especially in a post-covid world. Ultimately, the judgment sets a rather elevated standard for securing convictions for international corruption. It unfortunately presents an inevitable precedent, inimical to the global fight against corruption and the competence to hold multi-national oil producers accountable for financial crimes and corruption. Altogether, the OECD, CoE Conventions and enforcement procedures of member countries which ought to give teeth to international agreements and enforce standards and responsible business conduct seems cast in jeopardy by the trial outcome of the Malabu case.

Initially, the Malabu case was hailed as a triumph and considerable progress in the battle against international corruption, especially in the oil industry. It presented a beacon for reforms measures and the possibility of heavy penalties or criminal sanctions for curtailing oil industry bribery and corruption. However, the Case outcomes only points to the fact that more concerted efforts, including clarifying uniform guidelines and standards of proof for securing culpability in corruption cases are possible reinforcement options for these guidelines to remain relevant as tools to eliminate entrenched corporate corruption in the oil sector. This is even more urgent  especially in contemporary times where the crunch and the brunt of Covid-19 has dealt incalculable blows on petro-reliant states, which desperately seek survival and safer shores from the mire of underdevelopment, debts servicing and excruciating poverty.

[1] Onome Lisa Ejenavi, PhD. Is a Law Lecturer at Baze University Abuja-Nigeria. Dr. Onome Lisa is interested in research areas bordering on: International law, Environmental Law, Petroleum Law, Energy Law, Sustainable Development Law, Law & Society, Human Rights Law, Comparative Law and other relevant areas of Public Law.

[2]   See, Art. 1. (b) of the UN General Assembly resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003, United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

[3] See, Preamble, the UN General Assembly resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003, United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

[4] M.S. Grindle, Good Enough Governance: Poverty Reduction and Reform in Developing Countries. Governance, (2004) 17: 525–548. doi:10.1111/j.0952-1895.2004.00256.x

[5] See, the UN General Assembly Resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This Convention encompasses 5 principal areas articulating: preventive measures, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery and technical assistance including information exchange. Whilst stipulating both mandatory and non-mandatory provisions.

[6] See, Paragraph 8 of the Preamble.

[7] In Art.25 of the UNCAC

[8] See Arts. 2-11,Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption

[9] Ibid.

[10] See, Paragraphs 37-38,

[11] See, Art.28

[12] E. K. Spahn, “Implementing global anti-bribery norms: from the foreign corrupt practices act to the OECD anti-bribery convention to the UN convention against corruption.” Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 23 (2013): 1.

[13] Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute. Chêne, Marie. Linkages between Corruption and Commodity Trading. U4 Expert Answer April 2016.

[14] Longchamp, Olivier, and Nathalie Perrot. “Trading in corruption: Evidence and Mitigation Measures for Corruption in the Trading of Oil and Minerals.” U4 Issue (2017).

[15] The EITI Standard requires countries and companies to disclose information on the key steps in the governance of oil, gas and mining revenues: Petroleum Contracts and Licensing, Exploration and Production, Revenue Collection and Allocation and Petroleum Budgeting and Accounts affecting Expenditure on social goods. Available at: https://eiti.org/eiti-value-chain

[16] See, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) (Establishment) Act, 2004

[17] See, the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. Act No.5

[18] The past NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD) was charged with money laundering and other financial crimes. And the EFCC recovered $9.8 Million USD, £750,000 and unnamed amount of Naira. Available at: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/223100-efcc-uncovers-billions-cash-home-ex-nnpc-gmd.html

[19] The EFCC allegedly, filed money laundering charges of $115 Million (USD) against the former Minister and recovered jewellery worth £28 Million (British Pounds) at a raid conducted on her residence. Available at: http://punchng.com/diezani-loot-efcc-arraigns-rivers-ssg-fo-allegedly-laundering-n750m/

[20] Reuters “Kellogg Brown & Root LLC Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charges and Agrees to Pay…,” Washington, 11 February 2009

[21] Scandals related to financial crimes, money laundering and embezzlement of state funds and oil monies were uncovered by the UK financial crimes agency against: James Ibori ex-governor of Delta State, with headlines captioned, “James Ibori pleads guilty to fraud and money-laundering charges in the UK: Police to repatriate stolen assets after former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta state changes initial plea” Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2012/feb/27/james-ibori-pleads-guilty-fraud Accessed at: 2 May 2018. Also related is the Alamyieseigha ex-governor of Bayelsa State case. See, Rory Carroll, “Nigerian state governor dresses up in drag to escape £1.8m money-laundering charges in UK” available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/nov/23/hearafrica05.development

[22] Shirbon, Estelle “Britain freezes assets of former governor”. Reuters (IOL). Independent News & Media. 17-12-2007. See also, Simon Tomlinson,  “Former Wickes cashier who became governor of oil-rich Nigerian state jailed for 13 years as judge says £50m fraud figure may be ‘ludicrously low'”Daily Mail. London. 16 April 2012.

[23] S. Sansoni, “Dirty Oil” in Forbes, (2003) available at http://www.forbes.com, accessed 8 June 2018. See also, Office of the US Trade Representative (2006) National Trade Estimate on Foreign Trade Barriers, Washington DC 11 Bloomberg (2007) “US Expands Bribery Probes, Targeting Nigeria and Kazakhstan” available at http://www.bloomberg.com,

[24] See, Arts. 1-5 of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials  in International Business Transactions Adopted by the Negotiating Conference on 21 November 1. (OECD)1997

[25] ENI has its global headquarters and domicile in Italy.

[26] Henceforth also described as the Malabu Case.

[27] Honoré Banda in Abuja and Patrick Smith in Yenagoa Posted on Monday, 20 May 2019 13:41 https://www.theafricareport.com/13113/opl-245s-webs-of-influence/

[28] See, Christophe Le Bec, “IT’S FAR FROM OVER, Nigeria: After Eni and Shell’s acquittal, what’s next for ‘OPL 245’? Monday, 22 March 2021 16:32, updated on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:42 Available at:

https://www.theafricareport.com/73929/nigeria-after-eni-and-shells-acquittal-whats-next-for-opl-245/

[29] Gen. Sani Abacha, President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Shehu Musa Y’ardua, President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari.

[30] Honoré Banda in Abuja and Patrick Smith in Yenagoa Posted on Monday, 20 May 2019 13:41 https://www.theafricareport.com/13113/opl-245s-webs-of-influence/

[31] Antonio Tricarico of Re:Common, environmentalist associated with the Case clarified the existence of on-going proceedings in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

[32] See, RG. TRIB. 1351/1 REPUUBLICA ITALIANA TRIBUNALE ORDINARIS DI MILAO SEZIONE VII PENALE

[33] See, Christophe Le Bec, “IT’S FAR FROM OVER, Nigeria: After Eni and Shell’s acquittal, what’s next for ‘OPL 245’? Monday, 22 March 2021 16:32, updated on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:42 Available at:

https://www.theafricareport.com/73929/nigeria-after-eni-and-shells-acquittal-whats-next-for-opl-245/

[34] See, Art. 15 UNCAC

[35] See, Paragraphs 37-38 of the CoE.

[36] See, Arts. 27-28 of UNCAC

[37] See, HEDA in Sahara Reporters, How Nigeria Would Have Lost $6billion In Future Revenues Through Controversial OPL 245. Available at: http://saharareporters.com/2021/05/27/how-nigeria-would-have-lost-6billion-future-revenues-through-controversial-opl-245%E2%80%94heda

[38]Available at: https://shellandenitrial.org/ See also, https://shellandenitrial.org/timelines/

[39] See, RG. TRIB. 1351/1 REPUUBLICA ITALIANA TRIBUNALE ORDINARIS DI MILAO SEZIONE VII PENALE

[40] The Court had already rendered vital electronic evidence ranging from emails and audio recordings inadmissible. See, N.4383/14RGGIB. & N.54772/13  Register of the Judge for the Public Prosecution.

[41] See, John Donovan, Reuters, “Italian Court Acquits Two In Nigeria Oil Graft Case” JUNE 24, 2021 MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian appeals court on Thursday overturned jail sentences handed down to Nigerian Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo for their part in a graft case involving Eni and Shell in Nigeria. Available at: https://royaldutchshellplc.com/category/opl-245/

[42] John Donovan, Reuters, “Italy Orders Inquiry Into Eni-Shell Nigeria Corruption Prosecutors” June 15, 20212:26 PM BST” https://royaldutchshellplc.com/category/opl-245/

[43] See, RG. TRIB. 1351/1 REPUUBLICA ITALIANA TRIBUNALE ORDINARIS DI MILAO SEZIONE VII PENALE

[44] See, S.7 of the United Kingdom Bribery Act (2010)

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