Publish what you Pay and what it means for African Governments; the curious case of Dan Etete

Hey Everyone ,

Its no secret (Now) that Dan Ete , the Abacha Government’s Oil Minister currently being convicted for Money Laundering in France held secret dealings with Royal Dutch Shell and Italian Oil company Eni’s Officials. ‘Over chilled wine ‘ and Lavish meals they deliberated over the oil block OPL245 in 2011 . OPL245 has been the subject of controversy ever since it was awarded to Malabu in 1998, not least because Etete awarded the block to Malabu while Petroleum Minister of Nigeria.

(But) Etete is widely believed to control Malabu, although he has denied being Malabu’s owner, maintaining in court that he was employed by the company as a consultant only after he left office.Etete had requested some initial figures from Shell on what it was willing to pay Malabu for OPL245 ;this we know from an email that Global witness intercepted  and from the case High Court case, Energy Venture Partners v Malabu Oil & Gas, brought by an Nigerian Energy lawyer claiming default of payment for brokering the US$1.1 billion deal for oil block OPL245 between Malabu and Shell Oil and Eni .

Global Witness believes that this was structured primarily as a way of allowing Shell and Eni to claim that it had not struck a deal with Etete(but the legal Principle of ‘Lifting the Veil ‘ proves otherwise ).

Now the same Royal Dutch Shell is in support of a suit driven at the the scrapping of a landmark transparency and anti-corruption law established in the United States.‘strike out’ Section 1504 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010), which requires oil and mining companies that report to the SEC to publish the payments they make to governments to end secrecy in oil deals. Oil deals such as the one Dan Etete had Kill the African Oil producing Economies because money doesn’t benefit the citizens  but rather goes to the already well lined pockets of such corrupt leaders;secretly unchallenged .

The lawsuit, brought by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and others against the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC),threatens to strike down a vital mechanism to improve transparency, reduce corruption, mobilize revenue for development and transform the lives of millions of people living in poverty” and it is no secret that Angola threatened to throw out BP Shell when they released statements of how much they were making from oil in the country (read- Income statements).

This aggressive lawsuit aims to undo regulations agreed through a two-year democratic, participatory and transparent process, and to overturn a law that was six years in the making in U.S. Congress.
The only Oil company Openly and Formally not in support of the repeal of this Law is Norways StatOil whose Corporate Social Responsibility Vice President , Baiba Rubesa stated  just this in a letter which met the audacity of this suit with just as much Veracity.

Mona Thowsen, secretary general of the Publish What You Pay campaign in Norway, stated, “the Norwegian government, as owners of Statoil, cannot be associated with supporting a lawsuit against transparency and democracy, whilst at the same time collaborating on Norwegian laws that may go further than the minimum standard now set in law in the U.S.”

Shell and a few others plan to attend the Oslo hosted  important Board meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) this month, at which new voluntary rules for improved transparency in the extractive industries are under discussion;a contradiction of their actions as obviously seen in the above opening scenario.

In conclusion i would like to ask that African governments that have just found Oil and Coal deposits to :

1- Verify what an Oil company’s legal /Policy is regards matters of Transparency and to scrutinize and state this out rightly in the Initial oil company-government contract.

2-Know that over looking such ‘small’ details can tople a government and an economy.

3 Know not to ignore other sectors of the economy because of the Oil find ;the curious case of Gambia  (Please see the paper ‘ Oligopolies of war’ written by K. Omenye)

4. Discuss the C.S.R aspects of the oil deal and put aspects of accountability in place.

5.Stop treating Energy issues with the lightness it doesn’t deserve.- train their staff particularly for that ministry. We have seen energy ministry staff go for ‘REDD’ meetings and not know what that was. #Epic Fail for the economy.

6.Know what the change of an Oil company’s local subsidiary means (legal implications) with regards to whether its an action /attempt at circumventing responsibility in the case of a suit .

Love Light and EXPOSURE,

Murikira.

Please Note that the information here was sourced from the Official Global Witness

Resources:

1-‘Markets or Oligopolies of Violence? The Case of Sudan’

KOmeje African Security

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