Former Nigeria Petroleum Minister Acquitted
PRESS RELEASE: A TRILOGY OF AQUITTALS
Chief Dan Etete notes with satisfaction that the Courts in Milan have rightly acquitted him of corruption and corrupt behaviour following a brutal and diligent 36 months trial. This judgement independently follows the path of the UK’s trial and decision (double jeopardy) on the malicious prosecution of the Nigerian Government.
The decision is significant and wide ranging:
1.The settlement agreements on transfer from Malabu to Shell and ENI were valid.
2.Those Agreements have never been cancelled by FGN
3.The Court has confirmed that no bribes were paid to anyone and that there is no case to answer on the issue.
4.The Settlement Agreements, negotiations and financial payments were beyond reproach.
5.These matters have occupied the Milan Courts for over 3 years, with almost 200 witnesses. The FGN and Prosecutor’s position has been found to be entirely baseless——No Case to even answer said the Court.
6.Milan was actively chosen by FGN to determine the issue of alleged corruption on OPL 245. They lost and must rightly live with that decision.
7.The High Court in London ruled that FGN made the conscious choice to determine all alleged corruption on OPL 245 in Milan, both civilly and criminally. Both have now rightly lost in the jurisdiction they themselves chose.
8.The acquittal in Milan is therefore determinative in all jurisdictions, including Nigeria.
9.Any and every Order made against Chief Dan Etete in any Nigerian Court or directly or indirectly in any other court on alleged corruption on OPL 245 are hereinafter entirely invalid and will be struck out.
10.Chief Etete and Malabu have jointly and separately suffered massive and unquantifiable losses as a result of malicious and politically motivated wrongful allegation of corruption.
11.The Chief was proven to have been wrongly labelled, a pariah with whom no large corporation would or could do business. Malabu Oil & Gas was similarly decimated.
12.Those losses exceed 10 billion US dollars which are entirely and properly recoverable against FGN. The legal tests of remoteness and measure of damages are conclusively and legally satisfied.
13.In essence, the valid and constantly unrevoked Settlement Agreements with Shell ENI FGN and Malabu relieved FGN of a multi-billion dollar claim by Shell in the Settlements process Arbitration begun in Washington by Eni on OPL 245.
14.Importantly, that Arbitration stimulated a settlement, with duress, whereby Malabu was forced to accept 1.2 US billion dollars for a concession with a proper market value of at least 8-9 billion US dollars.
15.Malabu was therefore deprived of approximately 8-9 billion US dollars in value on sale at the time, but over 15 billion US dollars if allowed to develop the Oil block as contractually agreed and upon which Malabu paid a signature bonus of 210 million US dollars to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
16.Agreements are meant to be honoured and serious allegations of fraud need to be particularized and proven. FGN did neither and the court rightly found against them. The Nigerian Government now face a valid, irrefutable claim for omission and commission on OPL 245 which should never have happened.
17.Chief Dan Etete expresses his sincere and unalloyed commitment to Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta; that FGN will be led to account for this malicious prosecution and waste of national resource, so the People of Nigeria should not face such perverse caprice by a malicious and fabricated claim for political purposes.
18.Chief Dan Etete sends his love and gratitude to the People of Bayelsa and Nigeria; and earnestly hopes that the purpose of Government (to rule fairly for the good of all, and not the interest of the few) is genuinely entrenched. Chief Dan Etete salutes all those that stood firm to support him during his trying period with Prayers, Morale and Materially.
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