The federal government has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan and Diezani Alison-Madueke, his former minister of petroleum resources, of accepting bribes for the controversial OPL 245 deal.
These claims were included in documents filed at a London court by lawyers representing the federal government concerning payments made to acquire the licence in 2011.
In the court case filed against Shell and Eni, the federal government said Jonathan and Diezani broke the law for making a secret profit and sidelining the government from its true share of the deal.
After years of legal tussles, in 2010, Jonathan’s government had re-awarded the controversy oil block to Shell and Eni for $1.1 billion.
The oil companies also paid $210 million as a signature bonus to the federal government.
However, the deal has been enmeshed in more controversies and trials over allegations of bribery and shady deals by officials of the Nigerian government and their foreign accomplices.
The OPL 245 is reported to be one of the biggest untapped oil resources in Africa with reserves estimated at 9 billion barrels.
“Bribes were paid. The receipt of those bribes and the participation in the scheme of said officials was in breach of their fiduciary duties and Nigerian criminal law,” the court document read.
Reuters reports that Jonathan’s spokesman declined to comment, saying the former president was on duty as an election observer in South Africa.
In April, a federal capital territory (FCT) high court in Abuja issued a warrant of arrest against Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation, and Dan Etete, a former minister of petroleum, over the controversial deal.