Malabu Controversy: Malami Asks Buhari To Stop Trial Of Adoke, Diezani, Others

Channels Television  
Updated February 19, 2018
File photo: Abubakar Malami

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the Malabu Oil scam trial involving the former Attorney-General Mohammed Bello Adoke and the ex- Minister of Petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke, PremiumTimes has said.

In a letter dated September, 27, 2017, and obtained by the online newspaper, the AGF said, following due examination of the case files, he was able to determine that the EFCC had no significant evidence to prove its allegations of sharp practices against the principal players and others in the controversial Malabu oil deal.

OPL 245 oil block was approved for sale by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in a sales and purchase deal involving Shell, Agip-Eni and Malabu oil and gas ltd.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has, however, been investigating fraud and criminal conspiracy charges against Mr Adoke, Mr Etete and their alleged accomplices since 2016 on the case.

While the officers are believed to be at large, Mr Malami insists that the anti-graft office is on a wild goose chase in its attempt to prosecute them.

“There is nothing to show that the parties as constituted were at all times working together and having ‘meeting of the mind’ to wit to forge CAC documents and use some for the purpose of divesting the shares of the complainants and thereafter enter into a settlement agreement with FGN and other parties to take delivery of the proceeds of sale OPL 245.

“There is also nothing in the proof of evidence to support the charge money laundering and it is therefore impossible for the prosecution to prove the elements which include illicit funds, transfer for such through various channels to re-introduce same again into the regular financial system as legitimate funds in financial institutions etc.

“Without the express proof of these elements, the count may not be sustained on the premise of the attached proof of evidence.

“The EFCC investigation and attached proof of evidence do not appear to have clearly revealed the case of fraud against the parties who claimed to have acted in their official capacities with the approval of three consecutive presidents of the federal government of Nigeria at the time with further claim that the matter was intended to be resolved in national interest thereby saving the nation acrimonious litigations resulting in high legal fees and the dormancy of the oil field while litigation lasted,” Malami said.

Meanwhile, Adoke, Etete and Diezani including other officials named in the scandal have, denied any wrongdoings.

Adoke maintained that the sale of OPL 245 was approved to save Nigeria from huge financial losses that could arise from international arbitration lawsuits.

Mr Malami in his letter, therefore, asked the president to immediately intervene to save Nigeria from international embarrassment and reputation damage.

Furthermore, he said Nigeria should take advantage of some favourable clauses in the agreement that allowed for government’s ownership of a part of the oil field.

“Your Excellency, the beneficial approach I counsel in the circumstances is for the federal government to take advantage of the terms of the agreement under clauses five and 11 to acquire a stake in the OPL 245 converting it to a production sharing contract (PSC) between FGN/NNPC, Shell and Agip after negotiating with the ENI/Shell to absorb the cost of the FGN/NNPC entry under the said clauses five and 11 through the PSC mechanism,” he said.

At the last hearing of the case on January 28, Adoke had asked the Federal High Court to dismiss the suit brought against him even as his lawyer, Mr Kanu Agabi, referenced Mr Malami’s letter.

On the other hand, Dayo Apata who represented the Federal Government challenged the content of the letter saying it is an advisory which does not stop the government from prosecuting the former AGF.

Having taken arguments for and against the hearing of the suit, Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the suit on February 28, 2018, for the ruling.