Malabu $1.1 billion: Why EFCC charged two former Nigerian ministers Adoke, Etete, for fraud, money laundering

adoke-and-etete

Eighteen years after Nigeria’s richest oil block, OPL 245, was controversially awarded to a new company, the then petroleum minister has been charged for crimes related to the block.

Dan Etete was petroleum minister in 1998 under the military dictator, Sani Abacha, when the block was awarded to Malabu Oil and Gas, a firm he partly owned. The company was registered on April 20, 1998 and was awarded the block nine days later.

The Department of Petroleum Resources last week confirmed that due process was not followed in the award of the block and that it was awarded to Malabu only on the directive of Mr. Abacha.

In the nine-count charge filed at the Federal High Court by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, on Tuesday, Mr. Etete featured in seven of them.

However, the charges were not related to the controversial award of the block in 1998, they were related to incidents that happened 13 years later, in 2011.

The $1.1 billion 2011 deal

Bello_Adoke_311464088After several political and judicial intrigues that ensured OPL 245 changed hands several times between Malabu, Shell, and the Nigerian government, Goodluck Jonathan emerged Nigeria’s president in 2010. On the prompting of his attorney general, Mohammed Adoke, one of Mr. Jonathan’s first directive upon assuming office was that the oil block be given to Malabu.

Persons close to Mr. Jonathan told PREMIUM TIMES the former president took the decision because of his closeness to Mr. Etete who had helped him during his tenure as petroleum minister and because of the perception among persons from the oil producing Niger Delta that OPL 245 was one of the few oil blocks awarded to someone from the region.

By 2010, Mr. Etete had schemed out other owners of Malabu including by fraudulently altering Corporate Affairs Corporation, CAC, documents, investigations revealed.

The CAC last week said its official in charge of the Malabu documents was “brutally murdered”.

Despite Mr. Jonathan’s directive that Malabu be given OPL 245, the company really did not exist and had no staff or technical competence to manage the block.  Based on advice from desperate businessmen including an Israeli, Ednan Agaev, Mr. Etete decided to cash in on the block. Through various middlemen, the former minister approached oil giants, Shell and ENI, to buy the block. Knowing Mr. Etete’s history including the fact that he had been convicted in France for money laundering, the oil firms would not do a direct deal.

For the transaction to continue, a legally recognised mediator would have to be found.

That mediator turned out to be the Nigerian government, represented by Mr. Adoke.

The agreements that were sealed led to Shell and ENI paying the $1.1 billion into a Nigerian government account in JP Morgan Chase in London. The money was to then be transferred to Malabu accounts controlled by Mr. Etete.

Although Shell and ENI have repeatedly claimed they did not know the money was going to end up with Malabu, investigations in Nigeria and Italy as well as leaked documents revealed that claim to be false. Mr. Adoke, himself would later admit that he, on behalf of the federal government, only acted as a mediator for two willing parties – Malabu and the oil majors. Mr. Adoke was, however, aware of the various fraudulent manipulations of Malabu by Mr. Etete when he authorised the transaction, multiple sources have told PREMIUM TIMES.

THE TRANSFERS TO FRAUDULENT FIRMS

To ensure no one stopped the shady transfer of the $1.1 billion to Mr. Etete, the money had to be quickly transferred. More so, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was set to assume office as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and the officials involved were not sure she would play ball.

On August 16, 2011, a day before Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was to assume office, Mr. Adoke and the then Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, authorised the transfer of the money to Malabu accounts in Nigeria controlled by Mr. Adoke. However, all the $1.1 billion could not be transferred. Emeka Obi, a man who claimed he helped broker the deal between Malabu and the oil majors filed a suit in the UK, that ensured $215 million was frozen of the money. The remaining $801 million were subsequently transferred to Mr. Etete: $400 million was transferred to a Bank PHB account while $401 million was transferred to a First Bank account.

Immediately Mr. Etete received the money, curious transfers began. PREMIUM TIMES investigations, now confirmed by the EFCC, reveal that shady companies linked to Abubakar Aliyu received about $479 million dollars from Mr. Etete. Our investigations later showed that most of the companies were non-existent and used fake addresses in their registration documents.

The companies – Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Ltd, A-Group Construction Ltd, and Megatech Engineering Ltd – were all charged in the suit filed on Tuesday by the EFCC.

While Mr. Etete later admitted that only $250 million of the money paid into his account was his, Mr. Aliyu is believed to have acted as a front for officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration including Mr. Adoke.

Summary of Malabu's history

THE CHARGES

The nine-count charge filed by the EFCC on Tuesday has nine defendants, Messrs. Etete, Abubakar and Adoke; Malabu Oil and Gas ltd; and Mr. Aliyu’s five companies.

The counts against Mr. Etete were that he fraudulently received a total of $801 million from the Nigerian government. The two against Mr. Adoke were that he aided the transfer of the money to Mr. Etete and conspired with him to “commit money laundering offences…”

Mr. Aliyu was accused of receiving a total of $478.6 million fraudulently from the transaction.

With the courts going on recess from Wednesday, the suit is expected to be assigned to a judge with trial commencing early next year.

It is not clear if all the accused will appear for trial though. Mr. Adoke is currently in the Netherlands while Mr. Etete, who was granted administrative bail by the EFCC is suspected to have fled Nigeria.

Also, the suit filed on Tuesday is expected to be the first of a series to be filed in relation to the juicy OPL 245.

Infographic---Malabu

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  • Izon Redeemer

    Very scary that the embattled Satanic drug infested brain of thief Magu-of efcc which has outlived her usefulness –Now a— serial fraudster who deceived the FCT into renting an apartment for him at the cost of 40m–has now turned to the Ijaw Nation again via Obj to Ijaw man Etete—-There is no court in Europe that this case have not been taken to–by the Ibos-It has gone from courts in Italy to London-to no avail –the Ibos —–all failed–So will this same Ibos who have decided to align with the Fulanis ati the head of the Yoruba mafia Obj– to fight Ijaw man Etete. They will fail again and again in the name of our Lord-Jesus Christ———–How can late Abacha dash two oil wells to two individuals in Nigeria in 1998-eg–Danjuma ati Etete——————–Danjumah who hails from oiless Taraba state, sold his oil well and made his millions—-quietly—Not one Nigerian from the old regions of the country was able to challenge him——–But when it got to Ijaw man Etete——————the Ibos as it is usual with them —when the issue concerns Ijaws– again ganged up with the Fulanis ati Yorubas to deny the Ijaw man his oil well—-Can the Ibos chasing Etete tell us–Who AMONG THE DUO HAS MORE RIGHT TO THE OIL WELLS THAN ETETE–I MEAN–BETWEEN DANJUMA AND ETETE?—–The Yorubas have discovered oil in their own backyard in Lagos—–the oil exploration activities is being undertaken by the Yorubas themselves—via Falawiyo—-It is the same in Borno state—The Fulanis control the so-called oil wells in the North East——Not so in the entire South south—-whose oil wells are owned by the Fulanis–Yorubas and Ibos-AWARE———Etete is the first Ijaw man to be gifted an oil block by a Kanuri man—–late Abacha———–I have often warned the mumu Ijaws to be beware of the Ibos–But they would not listen——–Often see them as their half brothers—-It is not the Fulanis who are after Etete–it is the Ibos–this time around——USING THE FULANIS TO DEMONIZE THE IJAWS———BECAUSE OF THEIR INSTATIBLE GREED–If mumu Etete had remained with his white wife all these rubbish would not have happened to him—-Instead he foolishly married an Ibo woman who turned out to be a gold digger—Separation with no strings attached to any is de only solution to our woes in the SS————-else THIS MADNESS WILL NEVER STOP–Soon the story will be that they half heartedly voted for Ijaw man Jonathan—ANIMALS

  • Burning Spear

    Very scary that the embattled Satanic drug infested brain of thief Magu-of efcc which has outlived her usefulness –Now a— serial fraudster who deceived the FCT into renting an apartment for him at the cost of 40m–has now turned to the Ijaw Nation again via Obj to Ijaw man Etete—-There is no court in Europe that this case have not been taken to–by the Ibos-It has gone from courts in Italy to London-to no avail –the Ibos —–all failed–So will this same Ibos who have decided to align with the Fulanis ati the head of the Yoruba mafia Obj– to fight Ijaw man Etete. They will fail again and again in the name of our Lord-Jesus Christ———–How can late Abacha dash two oil wells to two individuals in Nigeria in 1998-eg–Danjuma ati Etete——————–Danjumah who hails from oiless Taraba state, sold his oil well and made his millions—-quietly—Not one Nigerian from the old regions of the country was able to challenge him——–But when it got to Ijaw man Etete——————the Ibos as it is usual with them —when the issue concerns Ijaws– again ganged up with the Fulanis ati Yorubas to deny the Ijaw man his oil well—-Can the Ibos chasing Etete tell us–Who AMONG THE DUO HAS MORE RIGHT TO THE OIL WELLS THAN ETETE–I MEAN–BETWEEN DANJUMA AND ETETE?—–The Yorubas have discovered oil in their own backyard in Lagos—–the oil exploration activities is being undertaken by the Yorubas themselves—via Falawiyo—-It is the same in Borno state—The Fulanis control the so-called oil wells in the North East——Not so in the entire South south—-whose oil wells are owned by the Fulanis–Yorubas and Ibos-AWARE———Etete is the first Ijaw man to be gifted an oil block by a Kanuri man—–late Abacha———–I have often warned the mumu Ijaws to be beware of the Ibos–But they would not listen——–Often see them as their half brothers—-It is not the Fulanis who are after Etete–it is the Ibos–this time around——USING THE FULANIS TO DEMONIZE THE IJAWS———BECAUSE OF THEIR INSTATIBLE GREED–If mumu Etete had remained with his white wife all these rubbish would not have happened to him—-Instead he foolishly married an Ibo woman who turned out to be a gold digger—Separation with no strings attached to any is de only solution to our woes in the SS————-else THIS MADNESS WILL NEVER STOP–Soon the story will be that they half heartedly voted for Ijaw man Jonathan—ANIMALS

  • Burning Spear

    stop deleting comments

  • Peter_Edo

    This is good news!

  • oyoko

    Jonathan! Jonathan!! Jonathan!!! you have really tried in messing this country. Wherever you are, May the peace which you have made to elude this country not be remembered on you, and May God forgive you. You did not try at all: people made use of your gentility and ignorance to enrich themselves. This issue have been a burning issue, which Obj Govt was not able to handle, bcos they were hoping to get to the bottom of the matter. You came and squander the whole thing to your pocket: like your wife said,”God dey”

    • Olatubosun

      God will continue to bless you. For saying truth…
      Jonathan is a drunkard……..

    • Olatubosun

      He used all our money to drink shepe and ogogoro..
      Even patience Jonathan was selling ogogoro before…… Jonathan was her regular customer.. They see opportunity and, they misused it and put the whole nation in darkness.
      God will never forgive them.

  • Dazmillion

    Why is Dr Fortunato name not featured prominently in this scam, especially when this was one of the first acts of corruption commited by him? No finance minister can transfer $1 Billion without the approval of the president

    • Julius

      Gbam !!, we are watching.

  • Olatubosun

    Efcc… Always give kudos to your team

    • The Law Office

      @disqus_T8bfSdL7xX:disqus

      Yes, the EFCC got this one right. Premium Times also reported the news accurately,
      except for one single matter of detail. Ex-Minister Adoke Muhammed actually did not
      simply describe his role and that of the Jonathan government as that of a mediator,
      but as that of an OBLIGOR. It was an admission made in ignorance of law by
      Adoke Muhammed because an obligor is a full participant in the activities
      now alleged as criminal. An ‘Obligor’ in law is not an innocent bystander.

  • Olatubosun

    God bless your team

  • Res Ipsa

    Premium Times Editor,

    ADOKE MUHAMMED should go to the nearest air ticket sales agent in Holland where he’s hiding
    and buy a one-way flight ticket to Abjua, Nigeria, so as to be bundled into the dock of the court
    on arraignment for moneylaundering, bribe and theft. He has come to the end of the road.
    Adoke is more or less a fugitive if he chooses to stay in hiding in Holland. He’ll risk arrest
    by INTERPOL for this international moneylaundering crime occurring in four jurisdictions.
    The arraignment of ADOKE for criminal conduct is urgent if Nigeria will not be a mess.
    Adoke Muhammed is a worst evil inflicted by criminals on Nigeria as attorney-general.

  • Artful ºDodger

    Considering how cases drag forever in Nigerian courts, these cases may never be finished even in the next 20 or 30 years during which time these people would have long become maggot food. As an alternative, the federal government should prevail on the judges to set bail for these criminals in dollars and minimum of at least $450 million each. That way Nigeria would have recovered the loot and them the judges can seat on the cases all they want to fatten their own pockets.

  • Julius

    “Etete, who was granted administrative bail by the EFCC is suspected to have fled Nigeria”.This is why these bastards shouldn’t be granted bail at all. The bail conditions are usually not followed or enforced. Who is kidding who here ?

  • Stella Dominic

    +2347035322790..CUSTOM IMPOUNDED CARS FOR SALES AT CHEAPER PRICE AND NCS REPLACEMENT FORM IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR SALE, INTERESTED BUYERS SHOULD PLEASE. CONTACT OUR MARKETING ZONAL OFFICER

  • Sanssouci

    The reason people like me are cynical is because of things like this in Naija that happen that make you question the authorities’ sanity. Someone under investigation for 800Million US$ fraud is casually granted administrative bail and predictably skips town, while a blogger questioning his governor’s actions is detained and denied bail for 2 weeks plus! I doubt any of them will see a court room in Naija, you don’t steal this kind of money and patiently wait in Holland for Magu’s extradition demand.