Italian court exposes details of OPL 245 scandal

Former joint-head of the International Corruption Unit at United Kingdom based National crime Agency, Jonathan Benton, has alleged that former president Goodluck Jonathan and his Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke were not interested in investigating the allegations of corruption in the sale OPL 245, a prolific oil field containing an estimated nine billion barrels of crude oil reserves.

At the Milan Palace of Justice in Italy, three senior Judges on Wednesday listened to testimony from Jonathan Benton, former joint-head of the UK’s International Corruption Unit who gave detailed account of how former president Jonathan, former head of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ibrahim Lamorde, Former Attorney General Mohammed Adoke and Umar Bature a former House of representative member acted as lead actors in various stages of the much controversial OPL 245.

Benton was also asked about the investigation into former Nigerian oil minister Diezani Alison Madueke. He said that the investigation which began secretly at Scotland Yard, has since expanded. “It is a huge investigation” he said without explaining further. Last month a court in Italy sentenced two middle men, Nigeria’s Emeka Obi and Italy’s Gianluca Di Nardowere to four years in imprisonment for helping to arrange a payment between the multinational oil companies Shell, ENI and the Nigerian government.

The next hearing of the case has been fixed for October 10, during which the FBI is expected to present its own evidence into the scandal which is now being investigated globally. Investigations are currently going on in the case in the US, UK, Switzerland, Nigeria and Italy with detectives carrying out surprise raids, wiretaps and money tracing.

Source: Business Day

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