Are MI6 and top European politicians linked to Shell‘s nasty African swindle?
Friday 14th April 2017
YOU may have seen reports of how “oil giant Shell took part in a vast bribery scheme that robbed the Nigerian people of over a billion dollars.”
The story comes from an exposé by dogged and admirable anti-corruption campaigners Global Witness.
I haven’t the column space to tell the whole tale here but the very short version is this.
In 2011, Shell joined with Italian firm ENI to buy a big oilfield from the Nigerian government called OPL 245 for £1.1 billion.
But the money went to Dan Etete, Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum, instead of Nigeria’s public funds.
Shell had a couple of former MI6 officers working as their negotiators in Nigeria. Emails from these men and other evidence shows Shell knew full well most of the £1.1 billion would go to Etete.
The company also believed the deal would “deliver significant revenues to GLJ” – meaning Goodluck Jonathan, then Nigerian president. Shell’s ex-MI6 officers talk about money from the deal “paying people off” in Nigeria.
Global Witness says evidence shows “Shell executives knowingly participated in a bribery scheme” where a billion pounds supposedly going to Nigeria’s people for an oil licence actually flowed to Nigerian politicians.
What I would add to this story is this: if this is proved to be corruption, Shell’s work involved Western, as well as Nigerian government and political figures.
So why did MI6 not uncover this scheme? Perhaps because its former agents participated in it.
Why do Dutch and British governments not push regulation and investigation into the Anglo-Dutch firm Shell to stop possible corruption? Possibly because Dutch and British government figures sit on the Shell board.
In 2011, former senior British diplomat John Kerr and former Dutch prime minister Wim Kok sat on the board. Kok was, until 2002, a Labour prime minister who led his party on a business-friendly “third way” before Tony Blair. He ended up with a seat on the board of a friendly business.
In 2012, Kok was replaced by Nigel Sheinwald — Tony Blair’s former foreign office adviser. Sheinwald, a top Foreign Office official, advised Blair from 2003, helping with the disastrous occupation of Iraq. So he has experience with messing up oil states. Both Kok and Sheinwald ran Shell’s “corporate social responsibility committee.”
Kok and Sheinwald were in charge of “social responsibility” while Shell signed this irresponsible deal and Kok and Sheinwald refused to investigate it.
Shell deny wrongdoing, but Italian and Dutch authorities are investigating. If they prove corruption, the company behind the scandal will have been aided by top European, as well as Nigerian, politicians and officials.
You can access the full Global Witness story here: mstar.link/GlobalWitnessShell.