“Switzerland Secrets”: Swiss accounts revive memory of corrupt regime of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha

“Switzerland Secrets” | Several tens of millions of Swiss francs have passed through accounts belonging to the AOG group, linked to a corruption case in Nigeria, and to several African political figures.


The “Swiss Secrets” have not finished delivering all their secrets. Credit Switzerland’s data leak today sheds new light on a gigantic case of corruption on petroleum contracts in Nigeria in the late 1990s.

In An article published on September 22 , our partners of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (WOIP) reveal the existence of five accounts in the bank accounts Swiss, hitherto unknown, controlled by employees of Addax Petroleum.

This company, out of nowhere, had obtained in 1998 one of the most lucrative oil contracts in the history of Nigeria. A Nigerian investigation had subsequently established that it had, in exchange, paid several million dollars of bribes to the clan of the dictator Sani Abacha. French justice had, meanwhile, condemned in 2007 The Minister of Petroleum at the time, Dan Step, for having bleached some of these occult funds.

OCCRP research today makes it possible to establish that several other major political figures in West and Central Africa were linked to Addax and its parent company, Addax and Oryx Group (AOG), sharing the same accounts with The Credit Switzerland bank, on which have passed tens of millions of Swiss francs.

Among the multiple cotturies of these attached accounts, a name challenges: that of Umaru Ali Shinkafi, who was the Nigerian intelligence chief of the civil regime from 1979 to 1983, before approaching the Abacha clan after his blow of Military state, then to present itself to the vice-president of Nigeria after the death of the dictator. At his side, the names of Addax employees appear, but also of Congolese political figures (Dominique Nimi Madingou and Maurice Nguesso) and Senegalese (Moustapha Niasse and Abdoulaye Diao), whose presence is, to date, not Explained.

Mystery on possible bribes

Questioned by the OCCRP, AOG assured that these accounts were “not secret”. According to the explanation put forward by the group, the aforementioned political figures were minority shareholders of AOG, and these accounts allowed them to pay them “modest” dividends. AOG specifies that they had, at the time, “no political mandate”.

An explanation that does not convince David Mühlemann, legal and financial expert at the Swiss public anti -corruption Eye: “At first glance, I find it difficult to find legitimate reasons for which AOG should hold common accounts with high -ranking political figures, “reacts the expert with the OCCRP. In fact, their simple presence among the shareholders of this group holding oil contracts in Nigeria, unknown until then, raises many questions.

The data of “Switzerland Secrets” being silent on the origin and the destination of the funds having passed through these accounts, it is impossible to know if they could be used to pay bribes until So unknown to other public figures, in Nigeria or elsewhere.

The history of Addax in matters of corruption and financial irregularities, however, push Nigerian activist Olanrewaju Suraju, president of the NGO Human and Environmental Development Agenda, to advance this hypothesis with the WOT. Only a new survey would establish the exact role played by these Swiss accounts. Since the return of democracy, the Nigerian authorities have been fighting to recover the diverted funds from the Abacha regime. In 2017, they obtained the restitution of around $ 321 million (270 million euros) confiscated on Swiss accounts linked to the former dictator.

/Media reports.