The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, , has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for investigating and finally securing an order towards prosecuting suspects in the USD2.1bn (Two Billion, One Hundred Million Dollars) Malabu Oil Scam involving the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke and others at large.
In a press release issued on behalf of the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran by its Media and Publication Officer, Toyin Odofin, he stated, “It is heart-lifting that after many years since the Malabu Oil scam broke open whereby some Nigerian dignitaries and nationals of other countries were involved in fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting License 245 and money laundering, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration, where a principal suspect, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN) served as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“This oil scam is being investigated in Nigeria, Italy and Netherlands due to the participation of oil giants Shell and ENI, is such that those two other countries (Italy and Netherlands) have successfully prosecuted and convicted their nationals involved in the scam but Nigeria where the main fraud took place is yet to successfully prosecuted not to talk of convicting these fraudulent suspects that abused their privileged position as public officials, due to the manner of our judicial system and their lawyers always imputing one technicality or the other to grind the wheel of justice to a halt or snail speed with the hope that they could use such time delay to subvert justice and let off their clients from bearing the weight of law for their clear abuse of office. This is why it is commendable, the current efforts of the anti-graft agency, the EFCC to secure an order of arrest to enable the commission to apprehend the principal suspects, Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Raph Wezels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastino, Aliyu Abubakar and Mohammed Adoke who served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation while the looting and subversive acts took place. Former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, who was appointed by late dictator Sani Abacha, acquired “OPL 245” through his company, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited while in office in 1998. The deal was struck only five days after the company was incorporated with three shareholders; Mohammed Sani Abacha, Kweku Amafagha (a fake name created by Etete) and Hassan Hindu (wife of a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK). Other things to note about this high profile corruption scandal involving topnotch government officials under the Goodluck Jonathan regime are: -
- Etete illegally awarded himself the oil block and paid only $2 million out of the $20 million legally required by the state.
- The oil block, which is said to have about 9 billion barrels of crude oil, was sold to Shell and ENI for $1.3 billion in 2011.
- However, Shell and ENI did not want to deal directly with Etete, who had been convicted in France for his part in a separate money-laundering scandal, so they sent the money to an account belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria in JP Morgan bank, London.
- The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the Goodluck Jonathan regime, then transferred $801 million of the money into accounts controlled by Malabu and Etete in Nigeria.
- The money was then allegedly shared to various public officials in Nigeria as bribes while the government got only the sum of USD 210m as a signature bonus on OPL 245.
- Officials accused of receiving bribes in connection with the deal include Goodluck Jonathan, former Nigerian Attorney General, Mohammed Bello Adoke and former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. “According to the EFCC, the charges bordered on the fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and money laundering involving the sum of about $1.2bn, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption. Adoke has been living outside Nigeria since 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan administration that he served as the AGF left the office. The prosecution has not been able to apprehend the former minister and the rest of the suspects since 2016 when the charges were instituted against them”. The alleged $1.2bn scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited
The CACOL boss added, “It is against this background that many of our economy watchers, outside and within the country, advocated for more stringent punishments and sanctions against those looters and thieves who continually perpetrate these heists with the belief that grand corruption is still a bailable offence in Nigeria and so, they could easily get away with it. While CACOL may seriously frown against Capital punishment as a deterrent unlike obtainable in some climes, we believe that for Nigeria to be reasonably rid of this menace or ogre of corruption, no offender should go away unpunished, irrespective of his or her political cum economic status. Such high profile officials should attract sterner punishments as the saying is, ‘To whom much is given, much is certainly expected.”