Former President Goodluck Jonathan has reacted to the alleged claim by the federal government that he accepted bribes for the controversial OPL 245 deal.
The Federal Government is said to have made the accusation against Jonathan and a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in documents its lawyers filed at a London court concerning payments made to acquire the licence in 2011.
Jonathan was said to have taken the bribes in order “to broker a $1.3 billion oil deal eight years ago.”
But responding in a statement through his media adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, on Saturday, the former president dismissed the claim, crying out that he never asked for or collected any bribes as claimed by his accusers.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan did not ask for or collect any bribes, neither has he been charged for asking or collecting bribes, neither will he ever be charged with asking for or collecting bribes, because such never happened.
“That this particular dispute predated the Jonathan administration and survives it. That former President Jonathan is 61 years old and throughout his life has never opened an account, nor owned property outside Nigeria,” the statement stated in part.
While Jonathan called on those making “this latest propaganda” to make deposition (in court) on it, he said the claim was intentioned to eclipse the goodwill and positive reports of his recent diligent engagement in South Africa’s national and provisional elections.
“In fact, we expected something like this ever since it was announced that former President Jonathan would lead the Election Observation Mission of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa to South Africa’s national and provincial elections.
“We are well aware that this claim was intentioned to eclipse the goodwill and positive reports of former President Jonathan’s diligent engagement in South Africa’s national and provisional elections.
“The fact that most major media houses in the country refused to republish this falsehood bears out our conviction that Nigerians can no longer be deceived by hollow and diversionary claims of corruption, in the face of worsening state of affairs in the country.
“We have always made it clear that beyond this wave of conjecture, former President Jonathan was not linked, indicted or charged with collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes from ENI by the Italian authorities or any other law enforcement body the world over.
“It bears repeating that the documents relating to the transactions and decisions of the Federal Government on the Malabo issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the relevant Government offices, where they are accessible.
“We would like to point out that all the actions taken by the Jonathan administration in relation to activities in the oil industry were legally conducted by relevant Nigerian Government officials and were carried out in the best interest of the country”.
He said that whether in office or out of office, former President Jonathan still “does not own any bank account, business or real estate outside Nigeria,” the statement said.
Shell and Eni had in 2010, while Jonathan was in power, agreed to buy OPL 245 from Malabu for $1.1 billion.
The oil companies were said to have paid $210 million as signature bonus to the Federal Government of Nigeria then.
But the deal has been entangled with controversies and trials over alleged bribery and illegal deals by officials of the Nigerian government and their foreign accomplices.
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