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Eni, Shell aware of bribes in Nigeria case – Italy prosecutor

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Shell cuts dividend for first time since 1940s as oil demand collapses

Oil majors Eni and Royal Dutch Shell were aware that most of the money they spent to buy a Nigerian oilfield in 2011 would go in corrupt payments to politicians and officials, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

“They were kickbacks. And Eni and Shell knew it,” Sergio Spadaro told judges in Milan, summing up the prosecutors’ case in what is one of the industry’s largest corruption scandals ever.

Italy’s Eni and Shell, who deny any wrongdoing, bought the OPL 245 offshore field in 2011 for about $1.3 billion from Malabu, a company owned by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.

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Prosecutors allege that about $1.1 billion of that money was siphoned off to politicians and middlemen, half of it to Etete himself.

During a 7-hour speech in a special courtroom to meet COVID-19 requirements, Spadaro read out a series of emails between former Shell managers, including one saying it had been taken for granted Etete would have only kept a part of the price for himself, using the rest to pay off Nigerian politicians.

“There are a whole load of sharks around,” the email read out by Spadaro said.

Prosecutors are expected to make their final sentencing requests for those involved in the long-running case at a second hearing in Milan scheduled for July 21.

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Besides the two companies, another 13 people are involved in the case including current Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi and former Shell head of upstream Malcolm Brinded.

All the defendants have denied any wrongdoing, saying the purchase price was paid into an official Nigerian government account with all subsequent transfers being beyond their control.

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In a statement on Thursday Eni said it had paid the Nigerian government a fair and reasonable price for the field in a clear and transparent way.

“Eni did not know, nor was obliged in any way to know, the final destination of the funds subsequently paid to Malabu by the Nigerian government,” it said.

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Troops raid pirates, militants camp, kill six in Bayelsa

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The Defence Headquarters says the troops of Operation DELTA SAFE, on Tuesday, in Bayelsa, raided the Pirates/Militants’ camp and Kidnappers’ hideouts, eliminating six criminals.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Enenche said the troops, acting on credible intelligence, monitored movements of a suspected pirate/sea gang leader, who had sneaked into town from Port Harcourt, in the company of another known notorious kidnapper.

He explained that the troops thereafter raided the pirates’ camp at Tukugbene-Ayama Ijaw Local Government Area, to arrest both suspects and their gang members.

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According to him, upon arrival at the personal jetty of the suspect, troops met heavy resistance from harassing gunfire from pirates/militants in five boats that approached from adjoining creek.

“But the overwhelming firepower of our troops led to the forceful withdrawal of the pirates/militants, with various degrees of gunshot wounds.

“The gallant troops sustained the firefight until five of the pirates/militants were neutralized ashore.

“Furthermore, three of the attacking boats were sunk while the occupants with various degrees of gunshot wounds escaped into the river.

“In the process, troops recovered three boats from the pirates.

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“Additionally, our troops took over the jetty and advanced to the objective area which was empty,” he said.

Enenche said that the troops cordon off the area and conducted a search of the building where the suspects were believed to be residing and thereafter cleared the building.

He disclosed that the troops recovered three AK47 rifles with a magazine, two 200 HP Yamaha outbound engines, and three 115HP Yamaha outbound engines during the operation.

The coordinator further disclosed that troops also raided an identified hideout belonging to a notorious criminal/kidnapper and oil thief along Mbiama East-West road.

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According to him, during the operation, the troops arrested the kingpin while attempting to escape and recovered items which include a locally made pistol and cartridges.

“(The suspect) is reported to be a close ally to a notorious criminal known as VIP suspected to be one of the masterminds of the killing of 5 Battalion Soldiers around East-West road.

“The Military High Command congratulates the gallant troops for their dexterity and encourages them to remain resolute in curtailing the activities of pirates/militants in the Niger Delta region of the country,” he said.

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I’ll invoke no work, no pay rule if… Fayemi to striking doctors

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Kayode Fayemi

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has appealed to doctors under the aegis of National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) to suspend their ongoing strike to prevent being forced to invoke the no work, no pay rule of the Trade Dispute Act.

The doctors had on June 30 withdrawn their services, after exhausting 28 days ultimatum issued to the government, in protest against alleged wage disparity, unpaid backlog of allowances, among other matters.

Fayemi gave the appeal on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital during a statewide broadcast transmitted by all broadcasting stations domiciled in the state.

The governor called on the striking doctors to suspend their action in the interest of poor citizens who could not afford to seek treatment in private hospitals, noting that while arrears of unpaid allowances can be collected, a life lost cannot be reversed.

“We can always collect arrears of unpaid allowances, but a life lost cannot be reversed. That is why I should like to call on the doctors to take the patriotic route like other health workers and the organised labour for an immediate end to the needless strike.

“I do not want to be put in a situation where I have to invoke the no work, no pay in Ekiti,” he warned.

Fayemi said he felt more worried that workers, who got promoted five years ago have not enjoyed financial benefits of such elevation, saying it wasn’t his style and intention to deprive people of their legitimate entitlements.

“I am pained in my heart that people who got promoted since about five years ago have not enjoyed the corresponding financial benefits. These are things which give me great pain and which I am absolutely committed to assuaging their feelings.”

Fayemi explained that the government was unable to pay workers’ accumulated benefits due to drastic reduction in the federal allocation.

“Ekiti had consistently received from the Federation Account, an average N3billion in the last six months with a monthly wage bill of N2.8bilion.

“Apart from the fact that our monthly received federal allocation has dropped considerably because of low crude prices and off take, our internally generated revenue has gone worse as many businesses that should pay taxes are themselves under different government supports to stay afloat.”

He, however, commended the leadership of the Joint Associations and Unions of Ekiti State HealthCare Workers and organised labour for suspending their industrial actions, assuring that all demands of workers are being looked into in line with what state resources can accommodate.

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Nigerian sworn in as Superior Court Judge in America

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Edirin Okoloko

Edirin Okoloko, a Nigerian, has made history with his proud representation of the country on the international scene.

Okoloko from Delta state was sworn in as a judge of the Snohomish County Superior Court in Washington DC, USA.

He’s taking over from Judge George Bowden who retired recently. According to reports, the newly sworn-in Judge bagged his law degree from the University of Benin, Nigeria.

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He also got another degree in law from the Seattle University School of Law. Okoloko worked for 13 years a deputy prosecuting attorney in the county.

Before working as a prosecutor, the Nigerian was a judicial law clerk for a former Snohomish County, judge named Michael Downes.

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