Friday, January 27, 2017

The beginning of the end...

It has been reported in Nigeria that the country’s Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) has secured a court order mandating the return of oil block OPL 245, following an investigation into corruption allegations over how the deal was done. Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to a company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister in 2011, depriving its people of badly needed funds.

The news shows exactly why a landmark transparency rule now under threat from Republican lawmakers in the US is so important. The Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption provision requires companies to disclose what they pay foreign governments for natural resources. After long delays in finalizing the rule due to oil industry opposition, the final rule was issued in June 2016. Had it been in place in 2011, this crooked deal would never have gone through.The rule is now under threat as Republicans plan to introduce a resolution to void this important provision

This is historic. Generations of Nigerians have been robbed of life-saving services while oil men have grown rich at their expense. With US Republicans supporting the corrupt by slashing landmark laws and appointing an oil executive as their most important diplomat, it is inspiring to see Nigeria fight back.  Now that Shell and Eni are finally facing consequences, companies and their investors must understand they can no longer do backdoor deals with corrupt officials without paying a hefty price”, said Simon Taylor of Global Witness.

Nick Hildyard of The Corner House said, “We applaud the Nigerian Government for fighting back against corruption without fear or favour. Authorities in the US, UK, Italy and the Netherlands need to continue to do their bit in holding all parties responsible to account".

Antonio Tricario of Re:Common said, “As the largest shareholder in Eni, the Italian Government has a responsibility to intervene. It must take action over Eni’s mismanagement and alleged corruption”.

For me, this is the beginning of the end of the Italian oil giant Eni... Time will tell!

Note: News by Global Witness.

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