TIME

REVEALED: Real reason why Jonathan must answer questions on Malabu scandal

- Hon Razak Atunwa has reconfirmed that its very important to have

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan questioned by the House of

Representatives regarding the Malabu scandal



- Atunwa says he has been mandated by the Lower House, to get to the

root of the $1.3 billion oil bloc lease saga



- He says former President Goodluck Jonathan may have been complicit

in the controversial OPL 245 deal





Razak Atunwa, the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on

Justice, on Wednesday, April 12, reiterated that former President

Goodluck Jonathan would be thoroughly investigated for authorising the

$1.3 billion lease of OPL 245 oil block licence, while in power.

In a statement to newsmen, Atunwa said his committee had been mandated

by the House to "conduct a thorough examination of the process and

circumstances surrounding OPL 245 and identify culpability of any

persons, groups or organisations."





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"The committee is aware of recent information that has come to light,

both nationally and internationally, indicating that former President

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may have been complicit in the controversial

OPL 245 deal," Atunwa said.



Atunwa's statement is a reconfirmation of an earlier interview in

which he confirmed that his committee was finalizing arrangement to

summon the former president.



"I can confirm that the former president is now on our radar following

new details that were uncovered in latest news reports about the

Malabu scandal, " Atunwa said.

Premium Times reports that in his statement Wednesday, Atunwa said his

committee was "closely monitoring the proceedings in the Italian

courts instituted by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in which ministers

in Jonathan Administration were mentioned including President Jonathan

himself.

"These facts have firmly placed former President Goodluck Jonathan on

the Committee's radar," he added.



There have been reports that Jonathan might have received up to $200

million in bribes to approve the deal that has now become subject of

international investigation.







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The report was based on Italian court documents obtained by BuzzFeed

and Italian business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore.



In the documents, Italian prosecutors quoted Ednan Agaev, a Russian

middleman who helped negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell

and Eni, as saying that Dan Etete, the former Petroleum Minister at

the heart of the oil scandal, said he intended to dole out as much as

$400 million in bribes if the deal went through.



If Mr Etete actually paid out such an amount in bribes to Nigerian officials,



"Agaev stated that he would think President Goodluck Jonathan got at

least $200 million of this money ," BuzzFeed quoted an excerpt of FBI

submissions to Italian authorities as saying.



The revelations were made when the FBI interviewed Mr. Agaev, whom

prosecutors also said met with Mr. Jonathan on more than one occasion

in Nigeria during the OPL 245 negotiations.



Agaev, who was Etete's representative in the negotiation, said the

convicted former petroleum minister told him of the $400 million bribe

to Nigerian politicians when he approached him for his payment.



The Russian also repeated the claim in a follow-up interview with

Italian prosecutors, led by Fabio De Pasquale in Milan.



"I said that if it's true, that he paid, he had to pay 400 million, I

assume that at least 200 went to Goodluck (Jonathan)."

"I heard from Chief (Etete), he claims that he had to pay 400 million,

so, if this is true, if he paid 400 million, then most probably the

President, as the biggest boss, took at least the half of it," Buzz

Feed wrote, quoting documents prepared by Italian prosecutors.



According to an earlier report by CAMPUSNAIJA.info, Jonathan's

spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, issued a statement Tuesday which downplayed

the report as "hearsay evidence from a man of questionable character

who provided no substance to back up his false claim," in reference to

Agaev.The $1.3 billion was paid by oil giants, Shell and ENI, for the

oil block, one of the richest in Africa.



About $1.1 billion of the money was paid directly into a Nigerian

government account with JP Morgan while about $200 million had been

paid by Shell as signature bonus before the 2011 agreement.



Most of the $1.1 billion ended up in private accounts with about $801

million directly going into the account of Dan Etete, a former

petroleum minister who was convicted for money laundering in France.



A large part of that sum is believed to have gone to Mr. Jonathan and

officials that served under him including Mohammed Adoke, the then

attorney general.



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