Italian Court Acquits Nigerian, Obi, Upturns Sentence In Malabu Oil Graft Case

A Nigerian, Emeka Obi, has been acquitted on Thursday in an Italian appeal court for his involvement in an oil graft case.


According to DailyMail, the court also acquitted Italian, Gianluca Di Nardo, and overturned their jail sentences.

Obi and Di Nardo were both accused of “being middlemen and taking illegal kickbacks” in a case involving oil giants – Eni and Shell.


Their sentences were overturned three months after a court acquitted the two companies in a long term case that involved the purchase of a Nigerian oilfield worth $1.3 billion.


In 2018, Obi and Di Nardo were both sentenced to a jail term of four years, though were yet to begin the sentence.


However, the trial had no witness or hearings as it was only based on documents and according to Italian law, such sentences can be cut by a third.


In early June, the Italian Ministry of Justice ordered that an inquiry should be made on the conduct of Obi and Di Nardo in the case.


After the inquiry, three judges who sat on the case acquitted Obi and Di Nardo, stating that there was no case to answer. 


The judges dismissed the charges against the companies and defendants, including the seizure of Obi’s assets worth $98.4 million and Di Nardo’s assets worth over $23 million.


Obi’s lawyer, Roberto Pisano, described the original conviction as “an unjust sentence by the court of first instance conditioned by a macroscopic violation of the law.”

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