The 155billion naira presidential scam: How Jonathan approved transfer to ex-con, others

President Goodluck Jonathan

PREMIUM TIMES can reveal today that the N155billion secretly paid to convicted money launderer, Dan Etete, by the Federal Government, on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan, was actually a slush fund, with a huge chunk of it ending in bank accounts of cronies and business associates of government officials and at least one individual with links to Mr. Jonathan.

Our investigation also indicates that in order to cover up what is clearly one of the most elaborate corruption schemes in Nigeria’s history, the president tapped the junior minister in the finance ministry, Yerima Ngama, and Attorney General Mohammed Adoke to hurriedly transfer the funds to Mr. Etete on August 16, 2011, a day before the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, assumed office.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was not available Thursday to comment on her knowledge of the transaction. Her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, said she was away in Zimbabwe on an official engagement.

This website had on Monday reported how the Nigerian subsidiaries of two multinational oil companies Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (Agip) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (Shell) paid $1.1billion (N155billion) to the Federal Government in April last year for onward transmission to Malabu Oil whose principal is Mr. Etete.

Our subsequent investigations later showed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had indeed investigated the deal, concluding that the transaction pointed at a “cloudy scene associated with fraudulent dealings.”

The EFCC investigation also clearly established that Mr. Etete’s Malabu only served as a money laundering machine, as substantial parts of the funds was later transferred to various accounts owned by “real and artificial persons” suspected to have links with the presidency and other government officials.

Presidency sources familiar with the matter say the EFCC intimated President Jonathan and Mr. Adoke of its findings.

“But I can tell you that the investigation has suffered a setback since the presidency got wind of it,” one of our sources said. “There is high-level complicity in the deal and there is therefore high-level cover up. The report is gathering dust on the president’s desk.”

Mr. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, could not be reached on his mobile telephones to comment for this story Friday. And so also was Mr. Adoke. Mr. Ngama did not return calls to his mobile telephone.

Relying on court papers in the United States (where some consultants have sued Malabo for breach of contract), checks at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and on its own investigations, the EFCC established  that “a prima facie case of conspiracy, breach of trust, theft and money laundering can be established against some real and artificial persons.”

The beneficiaries

At the heart of this brazen theft of public funds is one Abubakar Aliyu, a man whom top presidency and EFCC sources described as “Mr. Corruption” and who has very close business ties with Diepreiye Alamiesegha, convicted former governor of Bayelsa state.  

Mr. Alamiesegha, the self-styled governor-general of the Ijaw nation, is the man who picked Mr. Jonathan as his running mate in the 1999 governorship election in Bayelsa state and whom Mr. Jonathan succeeded in office after the former was impeached over corruption charges.

The disgraced former governor played a major role in Mr. Jonathan’s election last year, serving as both an adviser and a top campaign official.

Mr. Aliyu, through companies co-owned by him, received direct payments of $523mn (N81bn) from the largesse. Investigators believe that the businessman, introduced to the president by Mr. Alamieyeseigha, was Mr. Jonathan’s front in the transaction.

Mr. Aliyu is however not new to corrupt deals. One of his companies was recently found to be involved in a shady deal which involved the buying of a landed property from a government agency (NITEL) for N1billion and then reselling the same property to another government agency (CBN) for N21billion.

He allegedly used his links with late President Musa Yar’Adua and President Jonathan to broker the deals, and then reportedly paid kickbacks to some government officials.

Mr. Adoke, the current Justice Minister was named in that deal too just as sources believe he played a major role in the sharing of the N155billion largesse.

Sharing the money

On August 16, 2011, Mr. Adoke and the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, coordinated the payment of a first tranche of $401.5million (N60billion) into a First Bank account 2018288005 belonging to Malabu.

Another $400millionn (N60billion) was, based on the duo’s instructions, transferred into a Malabu Bank PHB (now Keystone bank) account 3610042472 from a Nigerian government account with JP Morgan International Bank. The balance of the funds was reportedly lodged into Mr. Etete’s account with Zenith Bank.

Immediately Malabu received the money, the distribution began. Rocky Top Resources Limited, co-owned by Mr. Aliyu received $336 million (N50bn) from the Malabu Keystone Bank deposit. Other companies that got money from the Malabu curious transfers include A-Group Construction Company, also co-owned by Mr. Aliyu. It received $157mn (N24bn), while Novel Property and Development Limited, also co-owned by Mr. Aliyu got $30 million (N4.5bn).

Companies not linked to Mr. Aliyu but got money from Malabu include Mega Tech Engr Co. Ltd, which received $180 million (N27bn) and Imperial Union Limited, $34million (N5.1bn).

Sources say these companies, like Mr. Aliyu’s, simply acted as fronts for political office holders, who helped to facilitate the transfer, as they have no basis to receive such huge sums of money from Malabu. The EFCC has also not identified what task these companies performed to deserve the payments.

“Reasons for this payment is yet to be ascertained,” the commission said.

Long before the largesse was shared however, Malabu had become a company renowned for shady deals.

A history of fraud

According to investigators, through “conspiracy, forgery, uttering forged document, criminal misappropriation and money laundering,” Mr. Etete and Malabu Oil had been involved in illegalities since its formation.

Formed on April 24, 1998, Malabu Oil had three shareholders: Mohammed Sani (Abacha, son of late military dictator Sani Abacha), Kweku Amafagha (who was representing Dan Etete on the board), and Hassan Hindu (representing her husband, Hassan Lawal, a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK).  Mr. Sani owned 10 million of the 20 million shares in the company; Mr. Etete six million and Mr. Hassan, four million.

Five days after the company was formed and registered at the CAC, it got two oil blocks awarded to it by the then military government:  OPL 245 and OPL 214.

Mr. Etete was petroleum minister at the time.

Controversy however trailed the oil blocks as President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2001, revoked the allocations, giving OPL 245 to Shell.  

After several court cases in Nigeria and overseas between Malabu, Shell, and the Federal Government, the oil blocks were re-awarded to Malabu in 2010.

Scheming out Abacha

Following a secret resolution on the oil block with the Federal Government, Mr. Etete decided to edge out Mr. Abacha from the ownership of Malabu. It is not clear if this is one of the conditions the Federal Government gave to Mr. Etete during the negotiations.

However at an extraordinary general meeting of Malabu on June 9, 2010, Mr. Abacha and a company related to him, Pecos Energy, were removed as shareholders of Malabu. The new owners (believed to be fronts for Mr. Etete) became Munamuma Seidougha and Amaran Joseph, both of whom had 10 million shares each.

These changes, the EFCC stated “gave rise to a lot of moral and ethical question that can necessitate an objective and full blown investigation into the matter.”

Mr. Abacha however fought back fiercely. Sensing that he had been schemed out and aware that Mr. Etete was already negotiating with Shell and Agip, he decided to act.

The Shell, Agip, FG, Etete conspiracy

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Ednan Agaev, an international counsel hired by Malabu told the Supreme Court of New York in an affidavit that he was appointed by Malabu to find an investor for OPL245.

“One John Coplestone of SHELL, a party to the negotiation informed him that Mohammed Sani (Abacha) is laying claim over OPL 245,” the EFCC stated. An AGIP official also told Mr. Agaev that “in view of the new claim by Mohammed Sani (Abacha), a direct deal with Malabu would not be possible.”

Mr. Agaev then informed Mr. Etete of the new development and suggested a way out.  

To put off Mr. Sani (Abacha)  from realizing his claim, “The FGN (should) take back the oil block from Malabu, transfer the rights to ENI AGIP/Shell and pay Malabu a compensation from the payments made by ENI AGIP and Shell,”

The oil companies agreed accepted the proposal. “By the end of March 2011, the FGN seemed to have acted with the suggestion,” the EFCC said.

This new evidence gathered by the EFCC contradicts the claims of Shell, who through its spokesman, Precious Okolobo, denied knowing that Malabu was to be the recipient of its payment.

“Shell was not aware that that money was to be paid to Malabu,” Mr. Okolobo had told PREMIUM TIMES. 

 

 

 

 


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  • Lanre

    Thank you Premium Times. It is better to continue watching Nigeria’s rulers as they continue to lie and cheat. Stealing the commonwealth that can be used to improve the lot of the people. The wages of sin are clear. Let them continue with the stealing.

  • Inimud

    Can someone tell us how much it will cost our nation (Nigeria) to supply stable electric power to all her cities.
    $1b for few!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chuwkudi345

    Transformative Agenda!!!!,
    The other time Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said in a prayer session that President Jonathan has a TRANSFORMATIVE AGENDA and that President Jonathan’s agenda for the country is the MOST TRANSFORMATIVE AGENDA WE EVER HAD!!! General Gowon was at that prayer session at the presidency too. With this revelation, now I can see why Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said President Jonathan’s agenda is the MOST TRANSFORMATIVE!!! Pastor, where are you?
    Thank you Premiumtimes. God Bless.

    • Sonate756

      Chukwudi,
      This is a brief correction. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor did not say President Jonathan agenda is the most transformative. Rather Pastor Oritsejafor said that Mr. Jonathan has a transformative agenda and this transformative agenda is the “GREATEST THING that has ever happened to Nigeria”. Now is this not the GREATEST THING? Somebody shout hallelluya!!!! And as Mr Inimud said let someone help us do the arithmetic of how much it will cost us to have stable supply of electricity. Again, somebody shout halleluya!!! President Jonathan’s “transformative agenda” is really the GREATEST THING that has ever happened to us.
      Chukwudi, thank you. Inimud, thank you.

  • Temistar2003

    Its obvious God will expose them all, and it has just started, u have nt seen anything, God will expose them all, no matter how powerful and wealthy they are.

    • Adviser

      They are not any more powerful than a “fly” which steals a morsel out of your food. They are weak and will remain so until Jugement Day.

      • Tundeinstructor

        I cried after reading this and I ask myself when will all this end? Are we just to sit down and keep watching as this our so called leaders suck us dry ? Is this democracy or democrazy or as someone put it lootocracy !pls ArISE O COMPATRIOTS ……..

        • Babanhakeem99

          Yes Tunde we should keep insulting our selves and our faiths
          while these ppl keep smiling to the banks at our expense. Buhari
          is the answer to all these mess, sure if elected these ppl will be
          given free accommodation aiso at our expense though they can’t steal
          our commonwealth by then! Shikenan.

          • Dimmicheal

            My Brother, Buhari I’d not better. They are all casts off the same mould.

    • Biggy

      Guys, can you keep religion out of this? It is too important to leave to the rational.

  • Sade5

    No no no it is Boko Haram that has made them to steal and loot oooo!!!

    • Abuyusufa

      look at you@Sade you will die poor while your leaders you worship will spit on ur grave. Continue to blame Boko Haram for ur problem. May God open your eyes

      • Akindele205

        Abuyusufa,
        You totally missed the humor in your response to Sade5. Haba!!! Sade5 is being sarcastic of the looters who put the blame for their failures on everyone except themsleves. Look at ti this way how can Boko Haram make someone steal. But Sade5 is not only humoring them that they are looters but that they do not have solution to any problem. My brother Abuyusufa take it easy. Bring back your sense of humor. We Nigerians are all in this together. If you understand it this way, then you need to take back your words against Sade5 and be more humorous.

      • Abuyusufa, Sade5’s comment is known as satire or ironic humour. It could also be sarcasm. Either way, you’re both on the same side with the same opinions. Sade5 is just a very witty person who uses their wit to make serious points.

        • Folami339

          Thanks Anne. You got it right. I think our brother Abuyusufa was a bit too tight when he was reading Sade5. But anyway, we are all in this together for the long run resisting the rogues in the corridors of power. We should NOT allow religion or ethnicity to divide us.
          Thanks Anne. Good job.

      • Lanre

        Abuyusufa. You go school? Like everybody has said this is satiric humour. Everyone has access to internet. At least that is progress. Now Abuyusufa since you have not apologised to Sade5, what if I told you that Abacha appeared to Jonathan (in a dream) and told him to give Etete the money. How does that sound? Education my friend. Go and enlighten yourself. Use the internet to your advantage.

    • Femiladepo308

      Sade5 and Abuyusufa
      dont worry Sade5. Abuyusufa completely and shockingly missed the humor in your post. You are simply making jest of the thieves in power at the presidency who have no clue on what to do with power. Dont be annoyed with Abuyusufa sha. Our problems are too many. It can make someone miss a good humor. We masses do not have to fight one another. You, Abuyusufa and my poor self are in the same boat together.

  • M.Bukar

    18,000 naira a month for hard working, patroitic nigerian civil servant is too much, government alone can not fund schools, hospitals and roads, we need private partners.First lady has distributed 5 yard material and 5 000 naira as loans to women to eradicate poverty in their families. draining of river benue suspended for lack of fund. Road construction in riverine bayelsa is expensive, so it has to take many years to complete one. fertilizer subsidy is unsustainable, fuel must be subsidised to buy busess and kake NAPEP. Corpers allowance not yet ready because they do not family to maintain bla bla bla

  • wode

    It will get to a point when Nigerians would no longer be able to tolerate all this “lootocracy” and violent revolution would become inevitable! Imagine, people would be forced to pay tax and buy fuel at very exorbitant prices and some opportunists, surrounded by praise-singers who are supposedly “men of God”, will continue to suck our common wealth with impunity and they will expect us to be perpetually silent, impossible!

    There are a lot of youth with no job and a lot of families languishing in abject poverty and the leaders decides to be digging deeper in their greedy and untold corrupt attitude. They are never drained of rhetorics to deceive Nigerians trying to portray innocence while claiming to “fight” corruption.

    Is this what we expect from the person who had no slippers?

    • Stella Briggs

      Stella BriggsMay 25, 2012 at 4:24 am

      Punch does not publish good and fair comments any longer.Kudos to Sahara reporters and Premium Times that have refused brown envelopes! What do you expect lfeanyi to say.To him this type of story is a joy that should be celebrated.Even, FGN has not been able to do anything to Ambassador Felix Oboro the looter of Embassy money and drug baron who does not want peace in Niger Delta.It is only in Nigeria that Chief Oboro can be appointed an Ambassador to damage the image of his country.

      • A Stich in time saves nine !

        Elca,my earlier comment to support yours has been deleted by the Punch.It is common knowledge that Punch is one of the on line newspapers given brown envelopes to cover up comments on big time looters,fraudsters and drug baron like Ambassador Felix Oboro whose looting of the public funds in Nigeria’s Embassy in Venezuela and other drug related scandals is globally very well known but swept under the carpet as the report of oil subsidy will soon be swept under the carpet.
        Ambassador Oboro should be probed now to show global community that Nigeria has honour.

    • Meco

      Brother, are u also saying this? when GBB said something similar He was accused of being blood thirsty. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

      • Biggy

        Meco does not claim to be a statesman who want to run Nigeria. GBB is a man said what he said out of selfish personal lust for power, wealth and fame. There is a difference.

  • patriot

    GEJ & his gangs of rogues plus all the past looters from october 1960 will surely pay with their children soon. This gruesome revelation of enormous looting in govt tire me o. How can a president refuse to declare his assets & still be on his seat? only in the jungle republic of Nigeria. Kai. these bastards should all be shot with all their family members. SOCIAL REVOLUTION is a must in this nation. Desperate looters need desperate reward. Gang of heartless, bewitched, corrupt bastards. They will never know peace in their lifes & generations.

  • this is the investigative journalism Nigerians would want to reading. Keep it up Premium.

  • Funkyduff

    Goodluck that doesn’t have kids, what is he doing with all this money. Is the huge bank account a way of feeding his useless ego or what. I pray all these things they are doing will come back and haunt them before their death.Useless leaders.

  • Eniolab43

    when a country has a set of people whose personal interests transcend that of a nation, then you have these kinds of rot oozing putrid smells from the top. what do you expect from a rotten head who leads others in pillaging our common wealth.

    I have always known that Abacha and his cohorts were not alone in raping the treasury, other so called leaders joined in and simply piled theirs on.

    All I know is that their children’s children will read the rewards when the revolution starts.

  • Enebih

    speachless. could the president be hearing about all these for the first time too? so i want to believe.

  • adenle

    Why not?They are sharing on our behalf to buy the vote of the fools among us!

  • This further confirms that criminals, associates and their collaborators are in firm grip of Nigeria. Whoever thinks this group will take the country to the promised land is on their own.

  • Biggy

    We need a statement from the President on this matter and what he is going to do to ensure that the impression of sweeping things under the carpet does not persist. Failing to do this immediately should prompt the parliament into action. An impeachment procedure against the president should be debated. If complicity is proven,he should be sacked. Then he and others involved should be brought to trial.

  • Dan

    For goodness sake we need to see the faces of those in your pictures. This is the foundation of photo journalism. Where did the photographer g to school? He probably paid for a diploma by mail.

  • Aminu B.

    FELLOW NIGERIANS WHAT WE NEED IS PRAYER FOR A LEADER WITH FEAR OF GOD AND INTEGRITY WHETHER MUSLIM, CHRISTIAN, NORTHERN, SOUTHERN. THAT WILL VALUE THE SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AS A LEADER WHO WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS OR HER POSITION IN THIS WORLD AND THE HEREAFTER. WITH SUCH A LEADER ALL THIS LAWLESSNESS WILL GO AWAY ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS CRISES ARE JUST A DIVERSIONARY TACTICS FOR US TO LOOK ELSEWHERE. EVEN NOW IT IS NOT LATE FOR GEJ IF HE CAN LOOK AT ISSUES POSITIVELY HE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH HIS HUMBLE BACKGROUND JUST MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION AND DO AWAY WITH OLD APPROACH TO OUR PROBLEMS I.E SETTLEMENT OF FEW ELEMENTS WITH THE PROMISE TO DELIVER 2015? GEJ SOME FEW POSITIVE DECISIONS CAN MAKE NIGERIA YOURS FOR LIFE IF U WANT COS THE ALMIGHTY HAS GIVEN YOU THE OPPORTUNITY BE PROACTIVE AND CHANGE OUR PSYCHIC POSTERITY WILL JUDGE YOU. MAY GOD HELP WITH AND CHANGE OUR LEADERS OR GIVE US LEADERS OF INTEGRITY……AMEEN!!!!!

  • Kwesikwesi12

    HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN JONATHAN IS NOT THE MAN WE ARE WAITING FOR.THANK GOD FOR EXPOSING THEM ALL.GOD BLESS NIGERIA