How ex-AGF, Adoke, overruled DPR to authorise $1.1 billion Malabu deal

Former Attorney-General, Bello Adoke

Bello Adoke, Nigeria’s former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, was cautioned beforehand not to authorise the $1.1 billion deal for the lucrative OPL 245 oil block because such transaction would be inimical to Nigeria’s interest, court documents show.

An affidavit submitted to Abuja Division of the Federal High Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said Mr. Adoke sought the approval of the Department of Petroleum Resources in February 2011 for the transfer of the disputed oil block from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria and Agi-Eni.

But the DPR responded in a letter with number PILD/880.T on April 1, 2011, that Mr. Adoke should not pursue the transaction because it would be “highly prejudicial to the interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

But Mr. Adoke, nonetheless, proceeded with the controversial deal and ultimately approved the award of OPL 245 licence to Shell Nigeria and Agip-Eni using Nigeria as the middleman for the transaction.

Ibrahim Ahmed, an EFCC prosecutor, deposed to the affidavit on January 11, 2017, in Abuja.

Mr. Adoke could not be reached for comments. PREMIUM TIMES reached out to some of his aides when he served as AGF, including Ambrose Momoh, his spokesman for many years, but they all said they no longer have his contact or know anyone who does.

Razak Atunwa, Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary who has been investigating his ties to the Malabu scandal, said the only letter Mr. Adoke sent to his committee did not carry a return address.

The revelation is coming at the time the Nigerian government has received court approval to temporarily repossess the OPL 245 block following several years of controversies.

The block, considered the richest in Africa, is estimated to contain over 9 billion barrels of crude and even larger volume of gas reserves.

At Nigeria’s current OPEC oil output quota of 2.2 million barrels per day, OPL 245 alone can provide all Nigeria’s oil production needs for over 11 years.

Established on April 20, 1998, Malabu was awarded the block nine days later by the Sani Abacha government, PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed.Infographic---Malabu

For the ensuing 12 years, the oil block changed hands between Malabu, oil giant Shell and the Nigerian government as all parties schemed for its ownership.

That disagreement started in 2001 when the Nigeria government first cancelled the award of the block to Malabu and gave it to Shell. The government later revoked the allocation from Shell.

In 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan appeared to resolve the controversy when he directed that the block be given to Malabu.

Having done several technical works on the block and realising how rich it was, Shell would not let go and was willing to play ball. Along with Italian oil giant Eni, the Anglo-Dutch firm paid $1.097 billion into a Nigerian government account in 2011 for the block.

Over 70 per cent of the payment ($801 million) was controversially transferred to Dan Etete, the man who as petroleum minister in 1998 first awarded the block to Malabu.

Dan Etete
Dan Etete

Mr. Etete later transferred more than half of this sum into accounts of phoney companies controlled by Aliyu Abubakar, a man believed to have acted as a front for politically exposed persons including Mr. Jonathan and his attorney general, Mr. Adoke, as well as Shell and Eni staff.

The way the money paid by the oil giants was laundered would later lead to investigations in at least five countries culminating in various corruption charges.

Reasons for reversal

In asking the Federal High Court to order that the oil block revert to the federal government, the anti-graft EFCC narrated its investigations.

An EFCC operative, Ibrahim Ahmed, told the court in an affidavit that the agency commenced investigations in 2012 after it received a petition “from shareholders of Malabu Oil and Gas alleging conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery of board resolutions to alter share structure of the company.”

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how at inception, Malabu was owned by Mohammed Sani (son of late dictator Sani Abacha, 50 per cent), Kwekwu Amafegha (fictional character created by Mr. Etete, 30 per cent) and Hassan Hindu (wife to Nigeria’s then Ambassador to the U.S., Hassan Adamu, 20 per cent).

EFCC investigations would later confirm this to be true.

Mr. Etete, who owned 30 per cent of Malabu at inception connived with a self-appointed company secretary, Rasky Gbinigie, to falsify board resolutions in order to take control of the oil block. It was his claim of sole ownership that led him into negotiating deals on behalf of the company leading to the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni.

However, the fraudulent manipulation of Malabu share holdings was not the only reason for the EFCC’s demand before the high court; from inception, Malabu was a fraud, the EFCC found.

Messrs. Abacha, Etete and Adamu “were barred by extant laws from engaging in any form of business by virtue of their office,” the EFCC operative told the court.

“They (Messrs. Abacha Etete and Adamu) used their positions to confer unfair advantage on themselves and cronies in allocating OPL 245 to themselves without due process.”

Therefore, according to the EFCC, not only were Malabu shares fraudulently manipulated by Mr. Etete, Malabu itself illegally obtained the oil block from the Nigerian government.

OPL 245 was awarded to Malabu “against all known Government regulations” and “before a formal application was submitted by the company,” the EFCC found.

The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to whom the court returned the bloc on Thursday, had also said that due process was not followed in 1998 when Malabu was awarded the oil block.

Shell, Eni’s roles

The EFCC operative also told the court that investigations showed that Shell had always known of Malabu’s fraudulent past even before the 2011 deal.


After it was awarded the block, Malabu knew it had no technical expertise. Mr. Etete, therefore, approached Shell as a partner.

Shell knew that the allocation of the oil bloc was fraudulent and “the procedure adopted by the owners of Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd was fraught with fraud but went ahead to consummate the transaction,” the anti-corruption commission found.

The EFCC operative also said investigations showed that the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni in 2011″was bribe to Dan Etete and his cronies.”

The commission confirmed PREMIUM TIMES earlier reports that it cooperated with security officials from Italy, Netherlands, U.S., UK and Switzerland in its investigations.

Italian authorities have since filed charges against Shell, Eni, staff of the companies, as well as Mr. Etete for the scandal.  Italian authorities have also asked the Nigerian government to hand overMr. Abubakar, the bagman, for questioning for his role in the shady deal.

Judges’s ruling

In its ex-parte originating summons, the EFCC sought for an interim order that OPL 245 be managed by the DPR “on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria pending conclusion of investigation and prosecution” of officials of Shell, Eni, Malabu and others who partook in the deal.

Eni buildingThe EFCC had in December filed money laundering and fraud charges against ex-attorney general Adoke, Mr. Etete and Mr. Abubakar. Charges are, however, yet to be filed in Nigeria against Shell and Eni.

Sources in the oil industry have also told PREMIUM TIMES that there is no activity currently on OPL 245 due to the various investigations.

On Thursday, Justice John Tsoho granted the order sought by the EFCC, thus effectively handing over OPL 245 back to the Nigerian government.


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  • musa aliero

    African leaders are the worst leaders on earth! They give up their most priced possessions for peanuts! A block that has 9billion barrels?!!! They went and collect $1.1b and let it go! Even at the current price of $47 dollar per barrel, if u multiply $47 times 9bilion!! That’s the value of that bloc! They should have charged them like $50billion dollars just to lease the bloc for 20 years at least! That particular block should just be a property of the government, and not awarded to anyone.

    • breakin’ news

      Breaking News:

      Nigeria’s financial crimes Policemen informed Nigerians on Saturday that they have intercepted
      a sum of ten million dollars stolen by “a governor in an oil producing state” in the south-south
      region of Nigeria. The governor is said to have siphoned the money and sent the funds abroad
      to his girlfriend in the United States of America. But the girlfriend then reportedly swindled the
      governor rather than lodge the funds in U.S bank accounts for the governor’s personal use.
      Whilst busy diverting the money for herself, the U.S government became suspicious and
      intercepted the tn million dollars stolen from Nigeria “…by a sitting state governor in an oil
      producing state in the south-south region of Nigeria”.

      • breakin’ news

        “A Nigerian governor is under probe
        after the sum of $10 million he diverted from the bailout funds allocated
        to his state was hijacked by his US-based mistress. The governor was said to
        have commissioned his mistress to help him launder the said sum only for the
        latter to refuse to remit it in the slush accounts the governor provided. In a
        new development, Kemi Olunloyo, who is the controversial daughter of former
        governor of Oyo State, Victor Omololu Olunloyo, has taken to her Instagram and
        accused U.S-based Nollywood actress, Georgina Onuoha, of being responsible for
        the fraud, adding that she should come out to clear her name”. According to her
        post on the social media, the current governor of Delta state IFEANYI OKOWA is
        the name sent to her by her sources. She now reports herself as demanding to
        interrogate Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to defend himself on the 10 million dollars.

        ………Internet Website Reports
        (January 28th, 2017)

        • Julius

          Yes. I read that and all I can do is laugh !!. We are all becoming a huge joke, a sad joke at that.

  • See-saw

    @Mrd77:disqus : MUHAMED ADOKE should be promptly arrested
    and handcuffed if violent, in accordance with law, before being duly
    shipped back to Nigeria and straight into prison custody without any
    entitlement to bail (as a confirmed fugitive from justice). It takes a shameless

    rogue with no self-respect to deliver a letter to the National Parliament of Nigeria

    from his darkling hideout in Europe without a return address that could disclose his
    address for arrest by INTERPOL.

    Such a morally wretched creature like Muhamed Adoke would likely have lodged

    in a cheap hotel in Europe with false passport bearing false names to further his
    scheme to evade arrest. Adoke even went further to blank out his official aides
    whilst in office as an implausible attorney-general, with one aide confessing in
    this report that he does not have or know the address of the den where Adoke
    Muhamed is still hiding in Europe.

    • Dawood

      Meanwhile his co-traitor and former commander-in-thief, Jonathan, is running around smiling and collecting useless awards. Their act was TREASONOUS, point-blank. BBOG, Ezekwesili, Biafraudsters should direct their protests to these individuals. When Buhari goes after the looters to get the monies back, Nigerians cry witch-hunt. When he eases up on them because of the howling, Nigerians cry that they’re hungry. Eh, make una eat democracy now.

  • See-saw


    MUHAMED ADOKE should be promptly arrested
    and handcuffed if violent, in accordance with law, before being duly
    shipped back to Nigeria and straight into prison custody without any
    entitlement to bail (as a confirmed fugitive from justice). It takes a shameless
    rogue with no self-respect to deliver a letter to the National Parliament of Nigeria
    from his darkling hideout in Europe without a return address that could disclose his
    address for arrest by INTERPOL.

    Such a morally wretched creature like Muhamed Adoke would likely have lodged
    in a cheap hotel in Europe with false passport bearing false names to further his
    scheme to evade arrest. Adoke even went further to blank out his official aides
    whilst in office as an implausible attorney-general, with one aide confessing in
    this report that he does not have or know the address of the den where Adoke
    Muhamed is still hiding in Europe.

    • No-Comment

      “The Attorney General of the Federation (Adoke Muhammed) negotiated this settlement himself
      and all stakeholders took part and were properly represented. An escrow account was established
      with all the conditions for intents and purposes. I, Dauzia Loya Etete took part in all the negotiations
      that led to the final settlement agreement. Just a simple question: Can the (Nigerian) government
      litigate (against) itself? And why has federal government of Nigeria not charged oil multinationals,
      Shell and Agip (ENI) and Total, to court over this Malabu oil deal?

      ………………..Chief Dan Etete

      (December 27th, 2016)

      • Ebenezeri


        I sincerely believe
        GOODLUCK JONATHAN was enticed by the ignorant advice he received from
        Adoke Muhamed and he naively believed there would be no consequence if he
        brokered a private arrangement (as a sitting president – thus implicating undue
        influence to vitiate the entire agreement ab initio
        ) between his kinsman, Dan Etete
        and, the Shell /Eni Agip consortium over OPL 245 worth about 1.2 billion dollars. In his
        life one should doubt if Jonathan had prior been worse led by the nose, but of course,
        it was comeuppance of a sort.

        Goodluck Jonathan appointed Adoke Muhammed as attorney-general
        contrary to all merits sounding in knowledge, and, Goodluck Jonathan then
        believed his own lies and relied on Adoke’s shaky knowledge of law. It is not
        unlikely Jonathan still rues the day that an ex Supreme Court Chief Justice
        (names withheld) introduced Adoke Muhamed as ‘a good candidate’.

        But Jonathan still has himself to blame because
        he should have asked what task Adoke Muhamed was a good candidate of.
        Had he asked, he’d have known that both he and the said ex Supreme Court
        Chief Justice were getting their wires crossed because one had fraud in mind,
        whilst the other misheard it and mistook that for general efficiency.

        • Justicia

          • Prosecute Nigeria’s heads of state indicted for receiving Halliburton bribes.·
          • Prosecute Sanusi Lamido Sanusi for un-accounted ₦1.6 trillion at Nigeria’s Central Bank.
          • Uncover the hidden owner of 10% of Glo Ltd shares and arrest him or her for prosecution.
          • Reanimate the billion-dollars theft case against ex-Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State.
          • Investigate Orji Uzor Kalu’s acquisition and his subsequent transfer of Slok Airlines.
          • Investigate and prosecute Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the ₦2.7trillion oil subsidy theft.
          • Jail ex Minister Dan Etete for stealing one billion dollars on oil bloc OPL 245.
          • Investigate all monopoly franchises granted Aliko Dangote for corruption.
          • Arrest and prosecute Cosmas Maduka for financial crimes on BMW cars’
          supplies to the Aviation Ministry at grossly inflated costs,
          added by brand mis-description.
          • Arrest and prosecute Stella Oduah for stealing by tricks.
          • Arrest and prosecute self-declared Nigerian billionaires for tax evasion.

  • Spoken word

    Adoke should be extradited.EFCC is working.

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  • sammyctu ode

    See how useless adoke, Nigerian officials and Shell have no commitment to project develop Nigeria! How can anybody in their right mind be working against the interest of his own country? Even useless jonathan who should NEVER be president approved that this oil block of such a magnitude be given to a few people. A president of any country is supposed and expected to first of all protect the interest of his country but cos he and adoke have been blinded by chronic corruption they sold Nigeria to a few people. As for Shell I am not surprised cos it has been a very corrupt company in Nigeria since they struck oil in Nigeria. This useless illiterate adoke MUST be extradicted to face trial while on the basis of Jonathan’s bad judgment he should be arrested and prosecuted. Shell must pay a heavy fine for their corrupt practices and all their top executives in charge at the time of this deal must be arrested and sent to jail forever. The irony of all these is that these western countries continue to label us as a corrupt country not knowing that they are the master of corruption. The time will soon come when these so called western countries will become ordinary ones and God will deal with them like Sodom and Gomorrah.

    • Izon Redeemer


    • Nkem

      Here is the only place you made mistake: “while on the basis of Jonathan’s BAD JUDGMENT he should be arrested and prosecuted”. I do not think it is”bad judgement”. It looks more like CRIMINAL INTENTION. I don’t know what is stopping them from arresting that rogue once and for all. For God’s sake, how much can this man be allowed to get away with?

  • Izon Redeemer

    PM—-allow comments to flow stop deleting them post that help to tell the globe the truth—Already 4 of my comments have been deleted by premium times for the thieves and drug addicts in efcc================Again=====why is the oil block awarded danjumah by the same abacha that gave etete his oil block not being challenged in court—-?—–Ex oil Minister David west an jaws man was sent to prison by the tripod–now etete another former IJaw oil—minister—-is to have his oil block seized by the tripod again—–all the properties of another ijaw woman deizani a former oil minister===also seized by the ulanis yorubas and ibos–whereas the oil wells owned by the former Fulani //oil ministers neverers remain with their families——DPR did not say the oil block that abacha gave danjunah was wrong——————–no matter how magu works to demonize the ijaw nation—————ijaws will outlive him and bingo buhari in Nigeria—–for freedom is our goal –not the satanic rule of the ulanis and yorubas ati their ibo surrogates

    • Holy truth

      Drunkard, get out of here. U are high on ur tombo liquor again. Tombo liquor don dry ur brain & blood at d same time u can’t think straight anymore.

  • Nkem

    Honestly this Malabu business is really driving me crazy. Where is Jonathan? Where is Adoke? Where is Etete? Where is the Abubakar guy? Why can’t they be arrested once and for all. We heard that the Italian government has already convicted their own people and fined their own company involved in the scam. What is wrong with Nigeria? What is the problem with this country, for God’s sake?

    • Julius

      Thank you ! I’m thinking the same, this is simply unbelievable. This is supposed to be a country..right ? Where is Mohammed abacha ?

  • Galantman

    But the same Adoke was shouting that he did nothing wrong? It seems the enemies of this country have no shamne at all. Fist they deny, then threathen or sue for all sorts of funny releifs. then when the chips are down they start seeking for out of court setllements. God help Nigeria.

  • obiora

    What of other OIL Blocks. Why not return all the OIL blocks to the Government because all are awarded this same way.

  • obiora

    I believe that Buhari want to award the Oil Block to himself. Because he is the only Military President with out OIL Block.

  • speechtherapy

    What many of us here are not seeing is that DPR advice was sought and DPR despite what that advice was then, can only restrict itself to technical and regulatory issues which is it’s mandate covers and definitely not legal issues which Adoke had a better holistic view on. People forget that Shell had sued the Nigerian Govt at the time for $2B for breach in taking back the block from them, so it was in the govt’s interest to settle.

    I see this as yet another attempt by power mongers to take this block for themselves as OBJ and Atiku tried to do using Fasawe and Pecos Energy.

    Anyway, why I dey drink panadol for another man headache…they will meet themselves in court.

  • Edward Osadebay

    High stake corruption and looting perpetuated from the top.