EXCLUSIVE: Top Nigerian businessman wanted for “international corruption” in Italy

building-near-transcorp

He may be the owner of Abuja’s most luxurious building and a friend to several Nigerian government officials, past and present, but the noose is tightening on Aliyu Abubakar in Nigeria and in Europe.

aliyu-abubakar
Aliyu Abubakar

About a week after Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, EFCC, filed money laundering charges against him for his role in the Malabu $1.1 billion scandal, evidence has emerged that Italian authorities also want him for “international corruption” for his role in the matter.

Prosecutors in Milan, Italy, have therefore written to Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, seeking the presence of Mr. Abubakar in criminal proceedings relating to the Malabu scandal.

The Italian request contained in a letter of notification to Mr. Malami are also connected to the recent nine-count charge filed by the EFCC against Mr. Abubakar, and eight others for their roles in the scandal.

Apart from Mr. Abubakar, others being prosecuted by the EFCC include a former Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke; former petroleum minister, Dan Etete; Malabu oil and Gas; and five other shady companies controlled by Mr. Abubakar.

Dan Etete
Dan Etete

It was to Malabu oil and gas, a company whose roots is marred in corruption, that the Nigerian government in 1998 controversially allocated OPL 245, considered Africa’s richest oil block.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr. Adoke and former finance minister, Yerima Ngama, approved the transfer of about $1.1 billion from Nigerian government’s account in London into Malabu accounts controlled by Mr. Etete.

The money was paid by oil giants, Shell and ENI, ‎into a federal government account, for OPL 245, estimated to contain 9 billion barrels of crude.

Only $801 million of the money could be transferred to Mr. Etete due to legal issues raised by Emeka Obi, a businessman who is also being charged by the Italians, in a British court.

After the transfer to Mr. Etete, over half of the money was paid to the accounts of the five shady companies controlled by Mr. Abubakar.

Attorney General Mohammed Adoke says he will be attending a meeting against child sexual abuse in Belgium and won't be available for the Malabu probe
Former Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke

Investigations by authorities in Nigeria, UK, and Italy have found Mr. Abubakar – described by anti-corruption officials as ‘Mr. Corruption’ for his involvement in various questionable high profile deals – and others culpable in the scandal.

Mr. Abubakar is believed to have acted as a front for several politically exposed persons who  benefitted from the funds including Mr. Adoke and Roberto Casula, who was then the head of Eni’s business operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Casula received $50 million cash in his Abuja home, Italian investigators found, while PREMIUM TIMES reported how another former Attorney General, Bayo Ojo, received $10 million. Mr. Ojo has since said that he did no wrong and the money was professional fees for services he rendered after leaving office.

The letter seeking Mr. Abubakar’s presence in Italy, as well as another letter, containing the charge against him, were jointly written by prosecutors in Italy’s Directorate of Criminal Justice, the office of International Judicial Cooperation and the Italian ministry of foreign affairs.

The purpose of the letters is to inform the accused, owner of the luxurious building beside Transcorp hotel, Abuja, and the Nigerian government of the allegations against the controversial businessman.

According to the letters, dated October 14 and 15, Mr. Abubakar is expected to avail himself in Italy for trial.

In the “Notice of Proceedings,” the Italians stated that “Aliyu Abubakar. No. 32 Gana Street, Maitama Abuja (Nigeria) is hereby notified that criminal proceedings are pending against him at this Public Prosecutor’s Office for the following offence: International corruption with the aggravating circumstance of transnationality. Re. OPL 245.”

“Aliyu Abubakar is hereby requested to declare its domicile in Italy or to choose a domicile in Italy in order to be able to receive the notifications regarding the proceedings.”

The letter of notification was signed by an Italian director of foreign affairs, Stefano Opillo, while the notice of criminal proceedings against Mr. Abubakar was contained in a letter signed by Milan’s public prosecutors, Fabio de Pasquale and Sergio Spadaro.

Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami PHOTO: Daily Trust
Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami
PHOTO: Daily Trust

Mr. Abubakar could not be reached on Friday. Also, the spokesperson to Attorney General Malami, Salihu Isah, did not return calls or reply text messages sent to him on whether Nigeria would honour the Italian’s request.

Nigeria is, however, expected to ensure Mr. Abubakar’s availability to the Italians even it means extraditing him should he decline to make himself available voluntarily.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Nigeria and Italy recently signed a mutual legal assistant treaty that guarantees such cooperation.

Infographic---Malabu
Malabu Infograph

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  • Aboutsomthing

    It is time. *Remember that lion King scene.

  • bulus

    The govt should sign such agreements with any nation these criminals stash our money so we can be cork sure they’ll be punished out there since our judiciary is as bad if not worse than these criminals…imagine almost 2years non of the corruption cases has gone anywhere.. adjournment upon adjournment until the govt leaves office in 2019..I hate this Godforsaken country

    • The Optimist

      Calm down. Hate the crooked judicial system in the hands of the criminal lawyers. Nigeria will surely get well. Relax.

  • Sunny Hart

    Hmm ! Malabu, Milan, Malami, Muhamme, Maitama. Is this a coincidence or mystical orchestration ?

  • wazobia ninja!!!!!!

    ebele,adoke and sons unlimited ……………………………………….

  • aswani

    S.A.N is now looking more like a criminal badge worn by recidivist criminals.

    A solution is to bring all rogue S.A.Ns to justice; and, to cancel the S.A.N title.

  • Abdullah Musa

    For someone who was pictured wearing a fabric made from ‘mosquito net’, one wonders why he is not transparent.

    • The Optimist

      You a real observer! I noticed same on the shamed man.

      • Abdullah Musa

        Right on my brother!

    • Julius

      Hahahahahaha, yes indeed ! I saw that as well.

      • Abdullah Musa

        I hope it is winter when he reaches Italy dressed that way.

        • Julius

          lolz, your’e wicked. I hope so too but, knowing how much money he already stashed away in the foreign banks, I doubt it.

    • Honorable Lawal

      You are the comedian of the year end lol
      Brilliant!

      • Abdullah Musa

        May the New Year give us causes to rejoice.

  • The Optimist

    Whether the looters like it or not, nemesis is catching up with them, one by one. This prosecutions, at home and abroad, long after the deeds, should serve as a warning, to those who lick fingers of corruption, that judgement day is sure to come.

  • A Aminu

    Criminals are fished out and are arraigned in the court of law. Our problems remains our court of law. How I wish the law courts are as genuine in fighting corruption as the presidency is.

  • Julius

    I hope Buhari will ship his ass to Italy to face the charges in their court, ASAP ! This will show the International community that he, we are serious about the fight against corruption . Its time to put up or shut up !

  • isaac

    Wearing a mosquito net in the name of fashion? I can not even see the human being inside it. Oofs! It stinks all over the place.

    • Abdullah Musa

      Spray him with insecticide, he will appear.