1.1bn Malabu Oil Fraud: No escape route for offenders, insists FG
John Tsoho, Justice of the federal high court, Abuja, has adjourned ruling on an application by Shell Nigeria Limited and Eni, seeking the vacation of an order of interim forfeiture of OPL 245.
The Judge took the decision to adjourn the case to Friday, March 17, after Malabu Oil and Gas filed an application to be joined in the matter.
On February 28, the court had adjourned ruling on the application for a retraction of the interim forfeiture order filed by the oil majors.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained an order for the forfeiture of an oil block, OPL 245, which is considered to be lucrative, by Shell and Eni.
The EFCC had asked the court to temporarily return OPL 245 to the government while it continued its investigation of alleged corruption in the sale of the block.
The two oil majors had allegedly paid $1.1bn to the government through Malabu Oil and Gas, which reportedly had a major stake in the block, but the money was never remitted to the government.
The anti-graft agency had filed charges of corruption against Shell, Eni, Dan Etete, who has a major interest in Malabu Oil and Gas, Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general, and Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman, at a federal capital territory (FCT) high court, Abuja.
Malabu deal began under Obasanjo’s administration, says Adoke
Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke has said that three former Presidents endorsed the Settlement Agreement on the controversial $1.6billion Malabu Oil Block.
They are Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Adoke said none of the three Presidents has disowned the agreement.
He listed ex-ministers who played key roles in resolving the conflict on the oil block. They are a former AGF and Minister of Justice Bayo Ojo, former Minister of Petroleum Resources King Edmund Daukoru; ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and former Minister of Finance Olusegun Aganga.
He said the recent actions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tended to impugn the Settlement Agreement.
He insisted that the Ministry of Justice, which he superintended, only facilitated the Settle Agreement.
The EFCC has filed charges against Adoke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete, a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar and eight others over alleged $801million bribe in respect of the auctioning of Malabu Oil Block.
The others are Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited; Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited; ENI SPA; Malabu Oil and Gas Limited; Ralph Wetzels(ex- Director of SNEPCO), Casula Roberto(Italian) whilst being the Director of AGIP; Pujatti Stefeno(Italian) while being the Director in AGIP; and Burafato Sebastiano(Italian).
But Adoke, in a March 6 letter to Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), asked the AGF to determine whether he had committed any offence for carrying out presidential approvals.
He asked Malami to tell Nigerians whether his predecessors in office from 2006 to May 2015 acted in the national interest when they brokered and implemented the Settlement Agreement.
He urged Malami to clarify to Nigerians the import of Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) with respect to the vesting of all the Executive powers of the Federation in the President to exercise by himself and or through his Ministers and appointees.
He said: “It will be recalled that the Terms of Settlement encapsulating details of the Settlement between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited (Malabu) was executed on 30th November, 2006.
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