Malabu Scandal: House committee gives reasons why it must summon Goodluck Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

A committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday said a letter of invitation will be dispatched to former President Goodluck Jonathan, summoning him to appear before it to explain his role in the controversial award of OPL 245 oil block licence.

Razak Atunwa, Chairman of the House Committee on Justice who leads an ad-hoc panel investigating the $1.3 billion Malabu oil deal, said the panel members have asked the clerk to write the former president.

The clerk is expected to dispatch the letter in the coming days, Mr. Atunwa said.

The $1.3 billion was paid by oil giants, Shell and ENI, for the oil block, one of the richest in Africa.

About $1.1 billion of the money was paid directly into a Nigerian government account with JP Morgan during Jonathan administration in 2011; while about $200 million had been paid by Shell as signature bonus a few years earlier.

Most of the $1.1 billion ended up in private accounts with about $801 million directly going into the account of Dan Etete, a former petroleum minister who was convicted for money laundering in France.

A good chunk of that sum is believed to have gone to Mr. Jonathan and officials that served under him, including Mohammed Adoke, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

“The committee is of the view that in the interest of thoroughness, natural justice and fair play, it imperative that evidence should be taken from former President Goodluck Jonathan,” Mr. Atunwa, an APC lawmaker from Kwara State, said in a prepared document emailed to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday.

The document gave specific reasons why the committee members resolved to invite Mr. Jonathan as follows:

• Mr Jonathan was the President at the material time the Ministers brokered the deal that lead to the allegation of $1bn diversion of funds;

• Mr Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy;

• A U.K. Court Judgment in relation to an application to return part of the money being restrained, castigated the Jonathan Administration as not having acted in the best interest of Nigeria in relation to the ‘deal’;

• The Attorney-General of the Federation at the material time, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has recently instituted proceedings in court wherein he pleads that all his actions were as instructed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The summon came three months after PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr. Jonathan might have received up to $200 million in bribes to approve the controversial deal.

The report was based on Italian court documents obtained by BuzzFeed and Italian business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore.

In the documents, Italian prosecutors quoted Ednan Agaev, a Russian middleman who helped negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell and Eni, as saying that Dan Etete, the former petroleum minister at the heart of the oil scandal, said he intended to dole out as much as $400 million in bribes if the deal went through.

If Mr. Etete actually paid out such an amount in bribes to Nigerian officials, “Agaev stated that he would think President Goodluck Jonathan got at least $200 million of this money,” BuzzFeed quoted an excerpt of FBI submissions to Italian authorities as saying.

Mr. Agaev, who was Mr. Etete’s representative in the negotiation, said the former petroleum minister told him of the $400 million bribe to Nigerian politicians when he approached him for his payment.

The Russian also repeated the claim in a follow-up interview with Italian prosecutors, led by Fabio De Pasquale in Milan.

“I said that if it’s true, that he paid, he had to pay 400 million, I assume that at least 200 went to Goodluck (Jonathan).”

“I heard from Chief (Etete), he claims that he had to pay 400 million, so, if this is true, if he paid 400 million, then most probably the President, as the biggest boss, took at least the half of it,” BuzzFeed wrote, quoting documents prepared by Italian prosecutors.

Last year, Mr. Atunwa’s committee commenced a new round of inquiry into the controversies surrounding the OPL 245 since its lease was first awarded in 1998.

The lawmaker said his committee found the recent allegations against Mr. Jonathan too compelling to ignore.

“We cannot ignore such weighty allegations knowing fully well that Nigeria has lost billions of dollars as a result of the numerous complications around the OPL 245 oil field,” Mr. Atunwa told PREMIUM TIMES in April.

Mr. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, did not respond to requests for comments about the imminent summon of his principal Wednesday afternoon.

But he exonerated the former president in a January 10 statement about the Malabu oil deal.

“We wish to make it clear that former President Jonathan was not accused, indicted or charged for corruptly collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes from ENI by the Italian authorities or any other law enforcement body the world over,” the statement said.

While Mr. Jonathan and officials that served under him continue to deny any wrongdoing, Shell, the global oil firm that desperately wanted control of the OPL 245, in April admitted it knew the $1.1 billion it paid alongside ENI for the block would be used as a kickback to Mr. Etete, an ex-convict.

It was not immediately clear how Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers on the panel supported Mr. Jonathan’s summon.

Iduma Igariwey, a PDP lawmaker from Ebonyi State who serves on the committee, said he was not carried along in the discussions leading up to Wednesday’s announcement by Mr. Atunwa.

“I am not aware of the plans to summon the former president,” Mr. Igariwey said. “This could be because I am currently travelling on a technical assignment.”

When Mr. Atunwa hinted that the former president would be summoned in April, PDP members expressed strong reservations.

Nicholas Ossai, a PDP lawmaker and member of the ad-hoc panel, said special steps must be taken before Mr. Jonathan could be summoned, given his status as a former president.

“Former presidents, irrespective of their political parties are senior citizens, and there are certain levels of respect accorded to them,” Mr. Ossai, from Delta State, told PREMIUM TIMES in April.

Mr. Ossai did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request seeking to confirm if he signed up to the final decision of the committee to summon Mr. Jonathan.

The 16-man committee includes 10 APC members and six PDP members. Their names and party affiliation are listed as follows:

Razak Atunwa (APC-Kwara)
Abdulmalik Bungudu (APC-Zamfara)
Peter Akpatason (APC-Edo)
Nasiru Sule Garo (APC-Kano)
Sunday Adepoju (APC-Oyo)
Kehinde Oduneye (APC-Ogun)
Zakariya’u Galadima (APC-Yobe)
Talatu Yohanna (APC-Adamawa)
Mogaji Dau Aliyu (APC-Jigawa)
Amiruddin Tukur (APC-Katsina)
Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta)
Obinna Onwubuariri (PDP-Imo)
Daniel Reyenieju (PDP-Delta)
Adamu Kamale (PDP-Adamawa)
Karimi Sunday (PDP-Kogi)
Igariwey Iduma (PDP-Ebonyi)


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  • Crude Oil Monitors (C.O.M)

    Premium Times Editor,

    Goodluck Jonathan in moneylaundering soup

    Goodluck Jonathan did the un-thinkable.
    He went into clear-cut conspiracy with Mrs. Dizeani Allison Madueke in a sweetheart deal
    on the Malabu Oil bloc (OPL 245). The duo chose to disguise private payment for the oil bloc sale
    to a private company – MALABU OIL AND GAS company – by making it look like the payment was made
    officially to the government of Nigeria. The duo then selected the New York branch bank account of the
    Nigerian state-owned oil company (NNPC) at JP Morgan as the designated account to receive the
    sale money – but less $200 million; which is still missing till today.

    From that JP bank account in New York and with Goodluck Jonathan’s
    approval, the money (about $800million) was re-transferred into JP branch abroad
    in London, England. It was from London that the duo of Goodluck Jonathan and
    Dizeani Allison-Madueke made it possible (with official cover) for the money to
    be withdrawn by or on behalf of Chief Dan Etete.

    • lifesmart

      Too bad you own oil company did not benefit from this deal. Wait in line for your turn.

      • Ex-Lawyer Capi

        @disqus_1prA7iKWiB:disqus

        On this OPL 245 money-transfer,
        Mohammed Adoke could be ex-President Jonathan’s Achilles’ heel
        for assuring Jonathan and the general public that no criminal or civil
        liability would follow Jonathan’s private business as A BROKER of a private
        deal between SHELL OIL and MALABU OIL on the illegal sale of OPL 245
        under the table, in criminal side-step of Nigeria’s Off-Shore and Petroleum laws.

        Mohammed Adoke,
        a usually ignorant fellow, was of course dead wrong on point of law. He said
        the federal government – i.e. President Jonathan – merely acted as an ‘obligor’
        – to sound off and confident that no liability would ensue. But an obligor does not
        mean innocent bystander in law but rather means a full participant as counter-party
        to a transaction.

  • YANKEE

    EDITOR SIR,

    In June 2013,
    U. S President Barack Obama ordered the U.S Justice Department to probe
    and prosecute the Nigerians and any and all other collaborators responsible
    for violating the America’s Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act
    (RICO). So far, America confirms that a prosecutable case has been prepared
    against two counter-parties to the money transfer of OPL 245 illicit sale into
    U.S jurisdiction at the JP Morgan bank in New York. Diplomatic sources say
    Goodluck Jonathan and Dizeani Allison-Madueke are the two counter-parties.

    • lifesmart

      That’s all you got?

      • Ebunola Ibikunle

        @disqus_1prA7iKWiB:disqus,

        Nigeria’s legislators need common sense. There is no immunity from investigation for a president –
        incumbent or past. The Supreme Court of Nigeria is not a vanity piece. It is an institution whose
        orders must be obeyed. That every president is liable to investigation was declared as the law
        by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Goodluck Jonathan’s duty is to obey that declaration of law.

        The nonsense opinion expressed by Nicholas Ossai, a PDP lawmaker and member of the
        ad-hoc panel, who said special steps must be taken before Mr. Jonathan is summoned,
        given his status as a former president
        ,” is nonsense. There are no special procedures
        for a president to appear before the Legislature for any constitutionally authorized purpose.
        U.S president Bill Clinton was summoned to appear before U.S House of Representatives.
        Bill Clinton was the sitting president at the time and no special favour was accorded him.

        • lifesmart

          And did Bill Clinton ever appear before the U.S Congress?

          • Ebunola Ibikunle

            @disqus_1prA7iKWiB:disqus

            Yes, Bill Clinton answered questions from House of Reps on Monica Lewinsky via video conference.

          • lifesmart

            ‘Via video conference.’ So Clinton never showed up to take a seat in the House. Good. GEJ can equally sit at his house in Otuoeke to respond via Skype to all the questions that these Senators have in mind.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            That’s not a problem either.

            My grouse is simply that Mr. Jonathan is being singled out. There are other substantial fishes that needs to have been hauled before this so-called committee before Jonathan is called for final clarification.

            The reasons given are on watery basis. For instance, has Mr. Etete been called? Has Mr. Adobe been questioned to back up his assertion that he was acting under Jonathan’s instructions?

            If I was Mr. Jonathan sha, I’d refuse their invitation on procedural grounds.

          • lifesmart

            Exactly. This is nothing but a witch-hunt–oh on GEJ.

  • PolyGon2013

    Don’t summon the former president (Jonathan) if you still want the oil to flow. No matter how corrupt GEJ was, don’t call him for any questioning. Just call his aides and nail them. No matter how much money GEJ stole, he cannot use it other than to party and drink ogogoro. So, arresting him will make his supporters mad like hell. If he had used the money he stole for good things, Otuoke would look like Dubai.

  • Patrick Otobo

    “For instance, about 40% of OPL 246 was sold for US$2,300,000,000 USD in addition to about $800.000,000 USD paid by Petrol Brass and Total to the owners of OPL 246. All these did not stop the owners of OPL 246 from retaining 10% equity participation in the operation of OPL 246, a percentage that has continued to generate income for the owners on a daily basis”.

    The above is an excerpt from the Report of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the transaction involving the FGN and Shell/AGIP Companies and Malabu Oil and Gas limited in respect of the sale of Oil Block OPL 245 Cjhaired by Honourable Leo Ogor. It is a pubic document and can be assessed by members of the public. Malabu submission quoted above was prseneted by Dele Adesina SAN.

    This is not generating interest from the House of Reps. Why only Malabu? Why is the House of Reps not inviting Obasanjo, Edmund Daukoru, Bayo Ojo and other senior government officials who midwifed the Settlement Agreement of 2006 that restored opl 245 to Malabu??? Why is the House of Reps inviting GEJ when there are multiple suits on Malabu? It will be subjudice for Jonathan to appear before the committee having not invited him prior to the commencement of the suits.

    Something is fishy?

  • D-A-N-G-0-T-E – C-E-M-E-N-T

    This is ťo ìnform thè general republic that Ďäñgoťé3x cement ïs nøw sôld díréct fròm thè fäctory for #1400 per bäg and #300 tó delìver per bäg,indìvìdual càn ořdér a mìñimum of 1OObägs, trailer load of 6OObàgs,träiler load of 900bägs trailer lòad of 14OObägs and abõvé contäct thé sälès Mr Ojekere on (0706538/3208) or assìstant säleś mänäger Mrs Märy on (0813206/6217) for ïnfo..

  • 0tile

    It is ungodly the way Mohamed Buhari holds on to Minister of Petroleum when no living Nigerian person has seen or heard from him in recent times?

  • Infoezone Infoezone

    Unserious lawmakers. Why don’t you summon ibb and obj first or have their names not been mentioned severally in other corrupt issues.

  • AFRICANER

    Finally, you are starting to grow up.