The lawmakers accuse the minister of lying in a letter to a global organisation.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday ordered the Attorney General of the federation, Mohammed Adoke, to appear before its committees and explain a letter purportedly written by the minister to Transparency International, claiming he had been absolved of wrongdoing in the over N155 billion Malabu oil bloc fraud.
Mr. Adoke is one of the multiple characters at the center of what is seen as one of Nigeria’s biggest fraud, and he has spent more than a year working to have his name removed from the list of the accused.
The House report into the deal, which involves a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, was laid last week, and deliberations are expected soon.
In the report, Mr. Adoke, is accused of facilitating an apparent fraud. In his testimonies to the lawmakers during investigations last year, he claimed the federal government, which he represented, only acted as an intermediary that knew nothing about the fraud surrounding of the transaction.
The House said on Tuesday, that weeks ago, while that report awaits debates, Mr. Adoke authored a letter to the global anti-corruption body, claiming he had been absolved of complicity in the scandal.
A member of the House, Samson Osagie, said he stumbled on the letter, and drew the attention of the House praying that the minister be summoned for explanation.
The House ruled Mr. Adoke appear before it within days and explain if the letter originated from him.
The Malabu deal has lasted more than a decade.
As minister, Mr. Etete assigned the lucrative oil bloc, OPL 245, which has estimated reserves of about 7 billion barrels of oil, to Malabu, a company lengthy investigations by PREMIUM TIMES have shown to be his. He has repeatedly denied ownership.
Mr. Etete co-founded the firm with Mohammed Abacha, son of the late military ruler, Sani Abacha. After the dictator’s death, the younger Abacha was eased out of the deal.
The Olusegun Obasanjo administration revoked the deal, and awarded the bloc to Shell, sparking a lengthy ownership tussle with Malabu.
After years of court battle, a negotiated settlement was finally adopted in 2011 with the title transferred fully to Shell and Eni, while the two companies agreed to pay N155 billion to Malabu.
In effect, Mr. Etete round-tripped the deal, and cornered the huge sum on a national asset he assigned to himself and paid next to nothing for. The facilitator for the fund transfer was the federal government, which Mr. Adoke claimed acted only as an obligor.
But investigations by PREMIUM TIMES have shown that soon after the payment, the money was transferred into multiple accounts owned by shadowy figures, many of them linked back to government officials.
It was Mr. Adoke alongside the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, who authorized the transfer of the N155 billion paid by Shell and Eni for the bloc, into Malabu account controlled by Mr. Etete, who had been convicted for money laundering in France.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...