Abubakar, the man who links Nigeria and Congo in the investigations into Eni

by Alessandro Da Rold


At home they call him “Mr Corruption”, will be heard on March 13 during the trial in Milan, he would be the architect of the companies to sort the maxi bribe of 1.92 billion dollars for the purchase of the Nigerian
deposit Opl-245 by Eni and Shell. 

They were all waiting for “Mr Corruption”, that is Aliyu Abubakar, a rich Nigerian businessman, involved in the investigation into the Opl-245 field in Nigeria, but will be heard in at least a month in the trial that sees the accused, among others, the CEO of Eni Claudio Descalzi, the former number one Paolo Scaroni and also the same six-legged dog along with the other Shell oil company. How a top manager of Eni and “Mr Corruption” (as he has been nicknamed by some local and foreign newspapers, including the Reuters agency itself) are connected will have to be discovered by the investigators or will be better understood during the process. It is possible that Abubakar will already be able to give answers on 13 March, when he will be heard in the Chamber. 

The testimony is highly anticipated, because Aliyu, (not to be confused with another Abubakar or Atiku candidate in the next presidential election), is a character surrounded by a veil of mystery. As far as we know,
from open sources, he is a very controversial wealthy businessman, the alleged owner of the most luxurious building in Abuja located near the Hotel Transcorp Hilton. He’d also be friends with several Nigerian government officials. Not only that. According to the investigations, Abubakar has built his immense wealth through business always at the limit of the law. On the contrary, as the prosecution claims in trial Opl-245, it was he who was fundamental in the payment of the 1.092 billion that would have been paid by Eni and Shell to acquire the
Opl-245 deposit from former president Dan Etete. It would be he, through some empty companies, who would ensure the transfer of the money and the payment of the “consultations”, such as that in Bayo Ojo, former Minister of Justice.

The latter testified on February 6 in video conference from Nigeria. The former Minister of Justice admitted that he was aware of Etete’s direct interests in Malabu – the company accused of doing business with Eni after the former minister had already been convicted of money laundering in France in 2007 – but he also stated that he never saw this as a conflict of interest. Apparently Ojo had reached an agreement with Etete to receive 5% of the figure in exchange for his legal services, nearly $50 million. Only 10 would have arrived, apparently from Abubakar, but Ojo often opposed professional secrecy and was unclear. In any case, he admitted that he had collected the 10 million dollars and that he was still in business with the former manager Eni Vincenzo Armanna, this time in the gold sector: he would have already paid 1.2 million dollars. Still in business? “We are interested in opening up
this business, which should be expanded to include oil and renewable energy. But Armanna told the magistrates about that money in 2016, explaining that the $1.2 million was not about selling gold but about other Nigerian activities. Much of the process revolves around the figure Armanna, who would also ‘coordinate’ with Gianfranco Falcioni, former Italian consul in Nigeria, Ojo and Abubakar himself the transfer of the alleged maxi tangent paid by Eni to the account of the Nigerian Government at Jp Morgan chase.

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