Witness Testifies On How Malabu Oil Deal Shortchanged The Federal Government

Logo of a court gavel

 

A witness on Thursday told the Federal High Court in Abuja how Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and six other companies charged with fraud in the oil prospecting lease 245 transactions, allegedly violated the nation’s money-laundering laws.

At the resumed trial, Mr. Temitope Erinomo who is the principal compliance officer at the Special Control Unit against money laundering in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investments insisted that the defendants contravened the nation’s money-laundering laws.

Mr. Erinomo appeared in court as the first prosecution witness in the case of 67 counts of money laundering involving about $800m instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Malabu oil, the six other companies, and a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar.

Also listed as defendants, aside from Malabu Oil Deal and Mr. Abubakar, are A-Group Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega-Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties, and Development Company Limited, Imperial Union Limited, and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC prosecuting counsel, Mr. Erinomo explained that Malabu Oil was registered as a consultancy firm while the rest of the companies listed in the charge sheet were registered to carry out construction activities.

The witness added that considering the status of the seven firms as construction and consultancy firms, they were designated by the Ministry of Trade and Investments as designated non-financial institutions and that such firms were mandated by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act to, among others, be registered with the ministry, submit statutory reports of their activities, and declare qualified transactions to the ministry and the EFCC.

The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, after taking the testimony of the witness, deferred his cross-examination by other defence lawyers to October 27, 2020.

 

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Malabu, Seven Others

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday, re-arraigned Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Aliyu Abubakar and six others before Justice I.E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on 67 amended charges, bordering on money laundering to the tune of $875,740,000.

According to a statement by the Head, Media & Publicity, EFCC, Dele Oyewale, the other six defendants are Group Construction Company Limited; Rocky Top Resources Limited; Megatech Engineering Limited; Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, Imperial Union Limited and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.

The suit marked: FHC/CR/268/2016, which initially had nine counts, was filed in 2016.

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At the proceedings on Tuesday, EFCC Counsel, Bala Sanga told the court that he was ready with the amended charges and for the eight defendants to take their pleas.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the 67 charges.

Sanga then prayed the court to grant a date for commencement of trial.

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter to Thursday, for the commencement of trial and granted that the defendants continue with their existing bail.

Malabu Oil Deal: Nigeria’s $1bn Case Against Shell, ENI Suffers Setback

 

A High Court in London on Friday ruled that the $1 billion case against oil giants Shell and ENI over the Malabu Oil deal cannot proceed. 

The High Court Judge, Christopher Butcher, is reported to have held that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter, which has a parallel proceeding in Italy, also brought by the Nigerian government over the Malabu deal.

This was what formed the basis on which Shell and ENI had moved to stop or stay proceedings in the $1 billion lawsuit in the UK, during virtual hearings of the case.

Both companies argued that the case in the UK court was a duplication of the ongoing criminal trial and a parallel civil claim brought by Nigeria in Italy over the same matter.

Nigeria had sued Shell and ENI for $1.1 billion in 2011 over the licencing of OML 245 which the nation claims the said companies made it miss as a result of bribes they paid to Malabu oil, owned by former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete.

Malabu Oil Deal: Trial Of Dan Etete, Others Stalled

(FILE) Dan Etete

 

 

The arraignment of a former minister of petroleum, Dan Etete, as well as one Aliyu Abubakar and six others has been stalled.

This follows the inability of the prosecution to serve two out of the eight defendants in the suit.

Etete and the others were scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The prosecutor, Bala Sanga, informed the court that two out of the eight defendants denied ownership of the companies listed in the charge sheet.

According to him, this is in spite of the documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) indicating the defendants own the said companies.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Arrest Of Former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete

Having informed the court of his challenges to effect service on the two defendants, Sanga applied for an adjournment to enable him reconfirm the true ownership of the companies from the CAC.

Counsel to Malabu Oil, Mr John Achimugu, did not oppose the application.

In her ruling, Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the matter until March 17 and 18 for the arraignment of the defendants.

The arraignment was stalled a month after an Abuja High Court in Gwagwalada ordered the arrest of the former minister over his alleged involvement in the Malabu Oil scam.

Justice Idris Kutigi had ordered the arrest of Etete along with Munamuna Seidougha, and Jospeph Amaran.

Sanga, in an ex-parte application, informed the court that the arrest of the former minister was key to unearthing the truth about the Malabu oil scam.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused Etete and two others of playing roles in the fraudulent allocation of the lucrative Oil Processing Licence 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998.

It named Etete, Seidougha, and Amaran as being on the run in the 42 counts of the alleged fraudulent Malabu Oil transactions recently filed against a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, and six others.

Malabu Oil Deal: EFCC To Arraign Adoke, Others On Tuesday

A photo combination of EFCC’s logo and a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, after he returned to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC.

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has concluded plans to arraign a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mister, Mohammed Adoke.

The anti-graft agency is to arraign Mr Adoke on Tuesday, having filed charges against him before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

In the charges obtained by Channels Television, the EFCC filed 12 counts against Mr Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie, as well as Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

Others listed on the charge sheet are Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.

The commission has also filed seven counts before a Federal High Court against Mr Adoke and Mr Abubakar.

It filed the charges at both courts in Abuja, after deciding to prosecute the former minister for the role he allegedly played in the controversial Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, otherwise known as Malabu oil scam.

Adoke was arrested by the EFCC in December last year after returning from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he was first arrested and detained.

The anti-graft agency accused the former minister, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep (SNUD), and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) of conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion.

Court Hears Adoke’s Bail Application Today

Mohammed Adoke

 

A Federal Capital Territory High Court in the nation’s capital, Abuja is expected to hear the bail application of former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, today.

Mr Adoke has been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), since he returned to the country from the United Arab Emirates.

After his release from the custody of the police in Dubai, he was picked up by the Interpol at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, before he was later handed over to the EFCC.

The former AGF is being investigated alongside other suspects, over the $1.09billion Malabu oil block (OPL 245) deal.

Court Orders Arrest Of Dan Etete, Adoke, Others Over Malabu Oil Deal

 

A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Jabi has ordered the arrest of Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum, Mohammed Adoke, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation and four others who were allegedly implicated in the Malabu Oil scandal.

According to a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the warrant of arrest was issued by Justice D.Z. Senchi on Wednesday after they failed to appear to face charges related to the scandal.

The statement said that all the defendants declared wanted have repeatedly failed to appear before the court.

The EFCC had through its counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, brought a motion ex parte praying the court for a warrant of their arrest, and an order for leave to execute the warrant outside of the jurisdiction of the court.#

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The proceedings on Wednesday had Justice Senchi, grant the prayers of the EFCC, and ruled that the Nigeria Police, the INTERPOL and any other law enforcement agency should arrest them anywhere they were found including outside jurisdiction of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) High Court.

The EFCC had since 2017 pressed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Eni Spa, Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastiano, Duazia Louya Etete (aka Dan Etete), Mohammed Bello Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.

The matter was adjourned to July 11, 2019, for further hearing.

FG To Open Fresh Investigations On OPL 245

 

The Federal Government has announced plans to revisit the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 awarded to Malabu Oil in 2011 by the previous administration.

The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla disclosed this at an anti-corruption situation room in Abuja on Wednesday.

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According to him, the move is aimed at compelling oil companies operating in Nigeria that have continuously evaded the payment of tax to fulfil their obligations.

Obono-Obla says public servants mentioned in the panama papers for owning offshore assets are also being investigated.

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

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.

Malabu Oil: Former AGF, Adoke Asks Court To Dismiss Suit Against Him

A former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, is asking a Federal High Court to dismiss the suit brought against him by the Federal Government for alleged criminal diversion of funds in the transaction involving Malabu Oil.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to the former AGF, Mr Kanu Agabi while adopting his written address drew the attention of the court to a letter written by the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami advising President Buhari on the need to discontinue the suit on the ground that the proof of evidence attached to the suit does not link Mr Adoke with the charges brought against him.

The Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr Dayo Apata who represented the Federal Government, however, 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.

In October 2017, the Federal Government recovered $85million from the United Kingdom as part of the stolen funds from the Malabu Oil deal.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, disclosed this during a consultative meeting on assets recovery in Abuja.

READ ALSO: FG Recovers $85m From UK On Malabu Oil Deal

Malami, however, decried the non-compliance attitude of some countries that are still holding on to stolen assets.

“I am also pleased to announce that Nigeria has recovered the sum of $85m on the Malabu fund from the UK.

“Therefore, I wish to use this forum to reiterate the need for the international community to ensure implementation of mergers considered and adopted at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016,” he said while soliciting the cooperation of the international community in the fight against corruption.

The Justice Minister also lamented the attitude of some countries perceived not to be giving Nigeria the needed support.

He added, “It is fortunate to state at this point that recovery and repatriation of our stolen wealth searched approach continues to be very tedious in spite of several bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements entered into between Nigeria and other jurisdictions.

 

 

FG Recovers $85m From UK On Malabu Oil Deal

FG Recovers $85m From UK On Malabu Oil Deal
File photo: Abubakar Malami

The Federal Government says it has recovered $85million from the United Kingdom as part of the stolen funds from the Malabu Oil deal.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, disclosed this on Thursday during a consultative meeting on assets recovery in Abuja.

Malami, however, decried the non-compliance attitude of some countries that are still holding on to stolen assets.

“I am also pleased to announce that Nigeria has recovered the sum of $85m on the Malabu fund from the UK.

“Therefore, I wish to use this forum to reiterate the need for the international community to ensure implementation of mergers considered and adopted at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016,” he said while soliciting the cooperation of the international community in the fight against corruption.

The Justice Minister also lamented the attitude of some countries perceived not to be giving Nigeria the needed support.

He added, “It is fortunate to state at this point that recovery and repatriation of our stolen wealth searched approach continues to be very tedious in spite of several bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements entered into between Nigeria and other jurisdictions.

“Even when the provisions of the United Nations Convention against corruption obliged states parties to facilitate the return of stolen assets to victim states, countries including Nigeria are still dealing with some challenges.

“My office has also put in place necessary machinery to hold bilateral talks with countries of interest during the Global Forum on Asset Recovery. These countries include United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, Panama, United Arab Emirates, Northern Ireland, Gambia among others.

The AG however reiterated the resolve of the government to recover more funds, having signed several treaties to facilitate the return of stolen assets.

 

Reps To Summon Goodluck Jonathan Over Malabu Deal

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on OPL 245 is set to invite former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify in the ongoing investigation over the Malabu Oil deal.

The committee noted however that it had conducted an extensive investigation into the OPL 245 saga and that it was drawing to a close.

It, therefore, stated that in the interest of thoroughness, natural justice and fair play, it was imperative that evidence should be taken from the former President.

In arriving at the decision, a statement by the committee noted that it took account of the following facts:

(i) Mr Jonathan was the President at the material time the Ministers brokered the deal that lead to the allegation of $1bn diversion of funds;

(ii) Mr Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy;

(iii) A U.K. Court Judgment in relation to an application to return part of the money being restrained, castigated the Jonathan Administration as not having acted in the best interest of Nigeria in relation to the ‘deal’;

(iv) The Attorney-General of the Federation at the material time, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has recently instituted proceedings in court wherein he pleads that all his actions were as as instructed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the Committee has decided to request that former President Goodluck Jonathan gives evidence as to his role in the matter.”

The statement sent by the House, said the Secretariat will write to him asking for his response and submissions.