Nov 22, 2020 News
By Kemol King
Kaieteur News – Many Guyanese have read about Dan Etete, the notorious former oil minister of Nigeria, who awarded himself a lucrative oil block via a company he secretly owned, as part of an elaborate US$1.3B bribery scheme funded by supermajors, Royal Dutch Shell and ENI.
Many are less aware of the involvement of the former oil minister’s nephew, Ken Etete. This rich oil tycoon was found by Italian authorities to be a director of a company which received nearly 40 percent of the money. Now, he owns a company operating in Guyana, called Century Tamara Energy Services Incorporated (CTES).
A Guyanese, Sheldon David, is the Country Manager for CTES.
The company is part of a group of companies called Century Group, for which Ken Etete is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
In order for one to understand Ken Etete’s involvement in Nigeria’s US$1.3B corruption scandal, there must first be the understanding of the central role of his uncle, Dan Etete.
In 1998, while in the office of oil minister, Etete granted the rights to a Nigerian oil block: OPL 245 to his own company, Malabu Oil & Gas, in a corrupt and illegal transaction. A lot happened in the decade which followed, including that Dan Etete was convicted for money laundering and that he was being investigated by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
All of this, Shell and ENI knew when they made a payment of over US$1.3B in exchange for the transfer of rights for OPL 245.
Most of the money did not to go the Nigerian government. The African nation’s government alleges that the funds went to paying Dan Etete and his associates, and providing bribes and kickbacks to Nigerian government officials as well as senior executives of Shell and/or ENI and/or their agents and intermediaries.According to documents filed in 2018 by the Nigerian Government in a British High Court of Justice, a substantial amount of the money went toward paying a series of companies owned by oil magnate, Abubaker Aliyu – an ally of Dan Etete.
The Nigerian government noted that, according to Italian prosecuting authorities, US$411M was transferred to Rocky Top Resources, in which Dan Etete and his nephew Edward Keniwenimo ‘Ken’ Etete were identified as directors.
The court documents state that ownership of the company was subsequently transferred from Abubaker Aliyu to Dan Etete, who spent much on lavish personal expenditure for himself and his family.
In a 2018 interview with Kaieteur News, Davis – the CTES Guyana Country Manager – had spoken glowingly of his partnership with the Nigerian firm owned by Ken Etete, which he determined would enable him to provide an array of capacity building exercises for his Guyanese brothers and sisters.
Davis noted that CTES would be ready and committed to train and certify qualified Guyanese for oil and gas positions. The company seems big on local content, like the rest of the Century Group.
The Group’s website states: “Century Group (CG) is a multi-operational company with interests and expertise in the full value chain of the oil and gas industry and non-energy sector in Nigeria. CG has grown to be the largest Indigenous operator of Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading Vessels (FPSOs) and flow stations in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Its seven main subsidiaries are listed as: Century Exploration and Production Limited, Century Ports and Terminal Limited, Century Energy Services Limited, Century Data Integrated Services Limited, Century Real Estate and Logistics, Elmina Petroleum Limited, and Global Manning Resources Limited.
Davis, the CTES Guyana Country Manager, had told Stabroek News in 2018 that its dialogue with the government was not as warm as it would have liked, and that he believes it was due to a ‘corruption’ stigma on Nigerian companies.
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