Really smart, Shell!

Is there more trouble in the pipeline from Tanzania? – expected FCT ruling 

re-published courtesy of Swissinfo.ch

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former employee it suspects of stashing kickbacks from the sale of a Nigerian oil field in Swiss bank accounts.

The energy company is already being investigated over another deal there.

+ Read why the Swiss attorney general blocked three bank accounts earlier this month 

In this new case, opened with the Dutch authorities and announced on Wednesday, Shell points the finger at its former head of commercial operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We suspect a crime may have been committed by our former employee, Peter Robinson, against Shell in relation to the sale process for Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 in Nigeria in 2011,” said the Anglo-Dutch group in a statement. “We were stunned and disappointed when we learned about this issue.”

According to Reuters, Nigerian company Neconde Energy Ltd bought OML 42 for $390 million (CHF373 million). Neconde has denied the allegations of bribing Robinson to secure the purchase.

In an unrelated bribery case, Shell, Robinson, and three other former Shell employees are scheduled to go on trial in Milan in May in connection with Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245. Shell is the largest international oil producer in Nigeria.

It was during the investigations for that case that Australian authorities raided Robinson’s house in Perth and discovered links to a Seychelles company and two Swiss bank accounts unknown to Shell, reported the Financial Times on Wednesday.

A lawyer representing Robinson said in a statement he denied any allegations of misconduct.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland confirmed on Wednesday that Swiss federal prosecutors had supplied information to authorities in Italy and the Netherlands probing alleged corruption related to oil contracts in Nigeria.

Reuters/Financial Times/swissinfo.ch/sm
 
Further trouble may be on the horizons for Royal Dutch Shell if Mr. Mabanga’s application before Tanzania’s Fair Competition Tribunal is successful. 

Tanzanian businessman Moto Mabanga has appealed the decision by a court to deny his application for extension of the lifespan of his case, meant to enable the court effectually, and completely adjudicate upon and settle all questions involved in the Commercial case No. 185/2013 involving gas Blocks One, Three and Four and for interest of justice.

Mr. Mabanga feels vindicated by the developments in Switzerland and says it all speaks for itself but not for Shell. These new facts warrant addition of parties who were instrumental in the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) strange approval of the takeover by Shell of BG assets in Tanzania regardless that Mabanga was contesting rights in a court of law for five percent free carry interest belonging to him. “The transfers or assignments were done clandestinely without my involvement in accordance to clause seven of three Consultancy Agreements attached to the plaint,” he states.

The businessman states that BG Tanzania Limited is a shell company whose presence in Tanzania is a mere façade. 

He accounts further that through its holding company, BG Group PLC sold its 60 per cent interests to Royal Dutch Shell, inclusive of his five per cent interests, but BG Tanzania Limited was now poised to close offices in Tanzania.

“I took initiative in good faith to caution Royal Dutch Shell before the transaction but I was ignored and the parties proceeded irregularly to secure an approval from the Fair Competition Commission secretly without advertising to invite objections from the public,” Mr. Mabanga states.

The businessman discloses that he was ignored during the acquisition of the 20 per cent interests in the three gas blocks by Pavilion Energy Pte, whose transaction has now been completed and he also cautioned Pavilion that the acquisition included part of his five per cent free carry interest in each of the three gas blocks as per Consultancy Agreements.

He points irregularities in the vigorous resistance by Shell, BG, Ophir and Pavilion Energy Pte of Singapore collectively as aiding and abetting the continuined damages against his interest.

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