$1.1 billion Malabu deal: EFCC wants former Attorney General, Adoke, arrested

Mohammed Adoke
Mohammed Adoke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, with a request to compel former justice minister, Mohammed Adoke, to attend his ongoing trial for alleged fraud.

Mr. Adoke and a former minister of petroleum, Dan Etete, and other defendants are currently facing trial for alleged diversion of $1.1 billion, during a controversial transfer of a rich Nigerian oil block, OPL 245 to Malabu, a company linked to Mr. Etete.

The counsel representing the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane, made the application during Monday’s hearing before justice John Tsoho.

The judge however said he could not grant the request because other parties to the matter were not in court, and had not been served with the notice of summons for Mr. Ojogbane’s motion.

Subsequently, the EFCC’s lawyer requested a long adjournment to allow his client sufficient time to serve the necessary notice of summons to all the defendants. The case was adjourned till June 13.

The $1.1 billion 2011 deal

After several political and judicial intrigues that ensured OPL 245 changed hands several times between Malabu, Shell, and the Nigerian government, the block oil was again given back to Malabu in 2010 on the prompting of Mr. Adoke.

Persons close to former President Goodluck Jonathan told PREMIUM TIMES the former president took the decision because of his closeness to Mr. Etete who had helped him during his tenure as petroleum minister and because of the perception among persons from the oil producing Niger Delta that OPL 245 was one of the few oil blocks awarded to someone from the region.

By 2010, Mr. Etete had schemed out other owners of Malabu including by fraudulently altering Corporate Affairs Corporation, CAC, documents, investigations revealed.

The CAC recently said its official in charge of the Malabu documents was “brutally murdered”.

Despite Mr. Jonathan’s directive that Malabu be given OPL 245, the company really did not exist and had no staff or technical competence to manage the block. Based on advice from desperate businessmen including an Israeli, Ednan Agaev, Mr. Etete decided to cash in on the block.

Through various middlemen, the former minister approached oil giants, Shell and ENI, to buy the block. Knowing Mr. Etete’s history including the fact that he had been convicted in France for money laundering, the oil firms would not do a direct deal.

For the transaction to continue, a legally recognised mediator would have to be found.

That mediator turned out to be the Nigerian government, represented by Mr. Adoke.

The agreements that were sealed led to Shell and ENI paying the $1.1 billion into a Nigerian government account in JP Morgan Chase in London. The money was to then be transferred to Malabu accounts controlled by Mr. Etete.

Although Shell and ENI have repeatedly claimed they did not know the money was going to end up with Malabu, investigations in Nigeria and Italy as well as leaked documents revealed that claim to be false.

Mr. Adoke himself would later admit that he, on behalf of the federal government, only acted as a mediator for two willing parties – Malabu and the oil majors. Mr. Adoke was, however, aware of the various fraudulent manipulations of Malabu by Mr. Etete when he authorised the transaction, multiple sources have told PREMIUM TIMES.


Immediately Mr. Etete received the money, curious transfers began. PREMIUM TIMES investigations, now confirmed by the EFCC, reveal that shady companies linked to Abubakar Aliyu received about $479 million dollars from Mr. Etete. Our investigations later showed that most of the companies were non-existent and used fake addresses in their registration documents.

The companies – Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Ltd, A-Group Construction Ltd, and Megatech Engineering Ltd – were all charged in the suit filed by the EFCC.

While Mr. Etete later admitted that only $250 million of the money paid into his account was his, Mr. Aliyu is believed to have acted as a front for officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration including Mr. Adoke.


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  • The Elder

    Premium Times Editor,

    BUHARI’s endless meetings with Bukola Saraki….

    I want to appeal to Nigerians not to
    write off President Buhari for holding meetings everyday with Bukola Saraki as
    a sign that Buhari has lost his marbles and doesn’t know what else to do. While
    it is true that all previous meetings so far looked pointless, if not headless
    and staged only for the cameras, like platitudes on high heel, it is also true
    that a resignation option – if it is under discussion – could be long and
    complicated, and should be properly weighed by all sides for a decision
    on whether or not to take that plunge.

    In such event, these seemingly endless meetings may take further time every day from
    tomorrow onwards and for a long time to come. The only controlling factor that may just
    pause the meetings is that a decision has to be taken before Nigeria collapses in rubble
    on the bald pate of Muhamadu Buhari and Bukola Saraki right inside their meeting room,
    even if a double resignation from one to the other, is the cause of a lengthy discussion
    in virtual idleness.

    • Izedomi Ohirein

      The meeting can continue, while persecution by EFCC continue at the same time. Monies are being recovered. Any convicted thief in the Senate, have to go home.
      Buhari might be slow, his plans are very good for Nigeria.

      • Gbenga Awofolaju


        My brother, nobody is elected to show nothing more than good intention.
        President Buhari cannot be seen presiding over the total wreckage of Nigeria
        and claiming exoneration based on some good intention that’s neither obvious
        nor concrete in reducing any disaster that’s befallen Nigeria since he showed up.

  • Foreign View


    A very critical QUESTION the Nigerian media fail to ask or answer is this: “What will happen to the $1.1 billion
    that Eni/Agip oil paid since 2013 or thereabouts to acquire interests in Malabu Oil OPL 245, now that the oil
    bloc is officially designated as PROCEED OF CRIME and liable to forfeiture by Nigeria’s federal high court

    If the court decides this case in the affirmative, forfeiture of the OPL 245 will follow with order to re-vest it
    as property of the government of Nigeria, hence, it will follow that the $1.1 billion Eni/Agip paid did not buy
    anything in the end. But given that the said $1.1 billion had long been shared out as bribes amongst seven
    [7] government officials including two business proxies, what will then happen to refunds?

    Italian prosecutors name General Aliyu Gusau and Dizeani Allison Madueke as two co-conspirators who shared
    in the loot. The Italian prosecutors also named Adoke Muhammed, Goodluck Jonathan and Alhaji Aliyu Muhammed
    as three [3] other beneficiaries. Some other foreign reports in London suggest there was another person – a Russian –
    who was in the shadows but who partook in sharing in the loot.

    • John Wayne


      My brother your logical thinking is second to none. There’s no mystery to law but logical thought-process.

      The recruitment of Professor Itse Sagay as President Buhari’s graft adviser has had no impact whatsoever.

      Corruption – including intentional manipulation of governmental proceedings – is alive and well under Buhari.

  • As an armed chair Lawyer myself, I am increasingly becoming embarrassed and ashamed of the sheer incompetence and utter hopelessness of these so-called Counsels in EFCC. How seriously can Nigerians expect these bunches of third rated lawyers to vigorously and successfully prosecute the wide range of high profile fraud cases in their brief?

    How on earth can the counsel representing the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane quick enough to approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court with a request to compel former justice minister, Mohammed Adoke, to attend his ongoing trial for alleged fraud without a faintest idea that Mohammed Adoke was not the only one connected with this case and that the other alleged crooks should have been served with the notice of summons? This is the sort of elementary error by a supposedly legal mind that beggars belief. Does Mr Ojogbane want us to believe that this is an oversight? These guys at EFCC know exactly what they are doing. The longer the case is prolonged, the more money they would be making from Nigerians and with half the meager sum they have managed to recover being used to pay them for fluffing even winnable cases. Listen to this one “Subsequently, the EFCC’s lawyer requested a long adjournment to allow his client sufficient time to serve the necessary notice of summons to all the defendants. The case was adjourned till June 13”. And with this, another day’s dosh in the bank for our brilliant Counsel Mr Ojogbane and his colleagues for another “job messed up” Last time another EFCC counsel has to adjourn another high profile case because his 4X4 Limo broke down on his way to court!! Tell me any of us “bloody civilians” that would not be fired by failing to report to work simply because our car broke down?
    With the amount of failed cases, missing or non-existent witnesses, lack of water-proof evidence and incessant cut and run prosecution, it is becoming evident that the legal teams in the EFCC are either hopelessly incompetent or downright clueless. Apart from making us really angry with all their highly publicized invites and arrests of alleged treasury looters, how many of these alleged dodgy crooks have been successfully prosecuted? If the EFCC continues to make a hush job at preparing their cases, the only outcome would be for clever judges to make a mince of them and throw the cases out. It is also one of the reasons why fraud cases drag on for years with corrupt judges feeding fat on the proceeds of crime. It stinks to high heaven!