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Why EFCC Arraigned Mohammed Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar.

Aliyu Abubakar

Mohammed Bello Adoke

 

After so many years of investigating the $1.1bn Malabu Oil Deal, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, over his alleged complicity in the $1.1bn Malabu oil deal.

Adoke was arraigned before Justice Idris Kutigi of the Abuja High Court, Gwagwalada, along with Aliyu Abubakar and Raski Gbinigie .

The federal government had on Monday filed a fresh 42-count charge against Adoke and six others over their alleged complicity in the $1.1bn Malabu oil deal.

The court thereafter remanded Adoke and two of his co-defendants in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission following their arraignment over the Malabu Oil scam.

Justice Idris Kutigi fixed Monday for the hearing of their bail applications after the defendants pleaded not guilty to the 42 counts filed against them by the EFCC.

Those arraigned alongside Adoke were Aliyu Abubakar, who was accused of offering N300m gratification to the ex-AGF in relation to the Malabu Oil deal; and a former Company Secretary and Legal Adviser of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Rasky Gbinigie.

Malabu Oil and Gas Limited; Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited; Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited; and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited were also listed as defendants.

The Malabu Oil scam involved alleged fraudulent transfer of the highly lucrative Oil Prospecting Lease 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998 and subsequently to Agip and Shell.

The EFCC alleged that Mr Dan Etete, who was the Minister of Petroleum Resources in the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, was involved in the fraudulent transfer of the oil block to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998.

Etete, according to the EFCC, later emerged as one of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited’s director.

The ex-petroleum minister is said to be currently at large.

The EFCC accused Adoke of playing a pivotal role and receiving N300m bribe in the deal resulting in the transfer of the oil block from Malabu to Shell and Agip.

Among others, the defendants were accused of forging Corporate Affairs Commission documents concerning Malabu to implement shady change of ownership and shares allotment structures of the firm.

But the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges on Thursday.

The prosecuting counsel of the EFCC,  Mr Bala Sanga, requested a trial date and prayed the court to remand the defendants in the prison custody.

But defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), Mike Ozekhome(SAN), Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and Mahmud Magaji (SAN), urged the judge to either release their clients to them with an undertaking that they would produce them in court at the next hearing, or order that they be remanded in the EFCC custody.

Following an agreement between the prosecution and the defence, the judge ordered that the defendants be remanded in the EFCC custody till Monday when their bail applications would be heard

 

In the fresh charge with number CR/151/2020, filed at an Abuja High Court, FG alleged that Adoke and other respondents received gratification to carry out a fraudulent oil deal.

In the charge dated January 14, 2020 and filed on January 15, the federal government also charged Rasky Gbinigie, A. Abubakar, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Limited.

According to the charge, the former AGF in August 2013 in Abuja while serving as a minister knowingly received United State Dollars equivalent of N300million which is reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully obtained and thereby committed offence punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap. 532laws of the federation of Nigeria 1990.

The FG charge signed by Bala Sanga on behalf of the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, further said that one of the accused persons, Rasky Gbinigie conspired with Munamuna Seidougha (at large), Amaran Joseph (at large) and Dauzia Etete (at large), sometime in 2013, in Abuja, dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani to open a Bank Account No. 2018288005 with First Bank of Nigeria Plc to receive the sum of $401,540,000.00.

According to the charge, the accused persons committed an offence contrary to section 366 of the Penal Code and punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.

In count seven, Adoke was said to have in September 2013 knowingly and unlawfully obtained the sum of US dollars equivalent to N367,318,800 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap.532 laws of the federation of Nigeroa 1990.

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