$1.1 billion Malabu Oil Deal: Ex-Attorney General Adoke hits back at EFCC

Mohammed Adoke
Mohammed Adoke

A former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bello Adoke, issued a scathing response to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday, accusing the anti-graft agency of lending itself to manipulation by powerful political interests.

Mr. Adoke said the EFCC’s handling of the controversial $1.1 billion Malabu Oil deal was inimical to Nigeria’s anti-corruption effort and called on concerned authorities to immediately caution the agency’s alleged injustice against the citizens.

Mr. Adoke’s response came a day after PREMIUM TIMES’ reported that the EFCC had slammed fresh charges of money laundering against him and one of his associates, Abubakar Aliyu, accusing them of sharing millions of dollars in fraudulent proceeds.

In the charges, filed at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, the EFCC alleged that Mr. Adoke exchanged more than $2.2 million in a bureau de change in Abuja as part of his share in the controversial $1.1 billion Malabu Oil deal.

Prosecutors believe Mr. Abubakar‎, a controversial owner of A.A. Oil Ltd., acted as middleman in the questionable deal.

The EFCC said in the court filings that Mr. Adoke took delivery of exactly $2,267,400 on September 16, 2013, and immediately enlisted the service of money changers to have it converted to the local currency.

Based on the prevailing exchange rate at the time, Mr. Adoke made N345, 200,000 after successfully converting the funds. He subsequently deposited all the money in a Unity Bank account to offset an outstanding overdraft of N300 million, court documents showed.

But Mr. Adoke said in an email to PREMIUM TIMES Friday evening that the EFCC knew the facts of the case but was deliberately muddling them up to confuse “gullible” Nigerians and malign his image.

Mr. Adoke said the money he purportedly received from Mr. Aliyu to settle mortgage payment was not exactly was transpired, describing the obfuscation as “reckless” and “reprehensible.”

“What is responsible for this reckless and reprehensible move by the EFCC to link my mortgage repayment to Unity Bank of Nigeria to the alleged bribe of $2.2 million, when the documentation in the bank in respect of the mortgage is available for any objective person to appraise and come to an informed conclusion?

“While not going into the merits, it is pertinent to state that I had applied for a Mortgage Loan in the sum of N300, 000,000 from Unity Bank of Nigeria to purchase a property from Aliyu Abubakar, a property developer in Abuja.

“The bank paid the loan sum directly to the developer and when I could not meet up with the repayments or pay the balance; he opted to repossess the property.

“I consented to this option and the developer directly paid the bank the loan sum and the Certificate of Occupancy was released to him.

“The EFCC is aware of this transaction and the fact that the developer subsequently sold the property to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“If this were not the case, they would have applied to have the mortgaged property forfeited. Despite this information, the EFCC in furtherance of its preconceived plan to ridicule and tarnish my name has hinged on this mortgage transaction to slam me with a preposterous charge of collecting a bribe of $2.2 million on the OPL 245 resolution transaction,” Mr. Adoke said.

Mr. Adoke said the EFCC embarked on the latest “spurious and malicious” campaign against him because the agency was desperate to defend the interim forfeiture order of the OPL 245 oil field.

The alleged desperation, Mr. Adoke added, led the EFCC to render itself as a tool for some vindictive powerful families in the country who have interest in the oil block.

Although he fell short at naming the families, the OPL 245 had pitted a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, and the Mohammed Abacha, son of former military ruler, Sani Abacha, against each other.

Mr. Abacha had been laying claims to the oil block, saying he was not a party to the 2011 agreement that led to the questionable payment of $1.1 billion to Mr. Etete and Nigerian government by Shell and Agip-Eni.

Mr. Adoke absolved himself of any wrongdoing, saying he saved Nigeria more than $2 billion in damages that stemmed from arbitration claims instituted against the Nigerian government at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes over the OPL 245 block, which is believed to hold more than 9 billion barrels of crude oil and even more volumes of natural gas.

Mr. Adoke was instrumental to Nigerian government’s involvement in the suspicious Malabu Oil deal, which saw Shell and Agip-Eni paying money into an escrow account of the Nigerian government to settle a firm with a questionable history.

Mr. Adoke authorised the transfer of the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni into private accounts of Mr. Etete, who further transferred a large percentage to Mr. Abubakar. Investigations suggested that Mr. Abubakar might have acted as a front for officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, including Mr. Adoke. ‎

‎Shell, Agip-Eni, Mr. Adoke and Mr. Etete, who initially approved the lease award of the OPL 245 while he was petroleum minister in 1998, have all denied wrongdoings.

But Italian prosecutors said late last year they had enough grounds to charge Shell, Agip-Eni, and their executives alongside other Nigerians involved in the controversial deal for fraud in Milan.

In separate charges filed late 2016, the EFCC accused Mr. Adoke and Mr. Etete of defrauding Nigeria in the OPL 245 deal.

The Department of Petroleum Resources said last December that Mr. Adoke and other officials of the Jonathan administration who participated in the concession of the lucrative oil field to Shell and Agip-Eni did not follow due process.

Mr. Adoke, who is currently in the Netherlands for study, had maintained his innocence and pledged to make himself available for trial.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comments Saturday morning.


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  • Nkem

    Mr. Adoke, I honestly did not understand your story, so please kindly come back to Nigeria and explain it very well for us to understand.

    • Sam

      Abi o.

      • Iconoclast

        @disqus_llPIQ7cNxP:disqus

        It is like tales under the moonlight to me. When an accused criminal is hiding
        in a dark room in Holland and typing press release at night with candle light
        to conceal where he’s hiding, any testimony he gives from that darkling hole
        should be rejected by right-thinking people as attainted with fraudulence.
        Until Adoke Muhamed has sufficient self-respect to come back to Nigeria,
        he has no right of hearing on any matter, even including his sexual acts.

    • Julius

      Yes, exatly !

    • pheliciti

      Adoke’s response is good example of deliberate obsfuscation.. its not meant to be understood.

    • The facts

      What don’t you understand about the fact that he bought a property through a loan which he couldn’t afford to pay back.

  • crude oil watch

    @disqus_llPIQ7cNxP:disqus & @disqus_7PLjCLpBtK:disqus

    Guys,
    please, don’t throw away the baby with the bath water. I know that Adoke
    Muhammed stinks to Nigerians but does a stinking man not have a right to expose
    his co-criminals? That’s the point you guys are missing. If you say you don’t
    want to hear anything from Adoke Muhammed because he’s a fugitive from justice
    how will you get more information to lead to the arrest of the other six people
    who shared in the OPL 245 Malabu Oil loot? So far the EFCC has only been able
    to name only two of the co-criminals; namely Adoke Muhammed, Alhaji Aliyu
    Abubakar.

    Who are the
    remaining four Nigerians who shared in this $1.1 billion loot? That’s the
    question! Italian criminal investigators point at General Aliyu Gusau and ex
    President Goodluck Jonathan as two others who shared in the loot but EFCC
    charges filed in court exclude both men, and even if both men were added, there
    will be two more accused criminals at large. Even if we adjust that arithmetic
    and take Italian investigators at their word and add Dizeani Allison-Madueke,
    there’ll still be one more criminal hiding in the shadows. Who is that last
    criminal?

    • baddy

      When he comes back to nigeria, he will expose the last person.

      • crude oil watch

        @disqus_31JhQWprO7:disqus

        For me there’s only one key thing Adoke Muhammed said, that contrary to its pose that it did not partake in directing payments of money (as bribes) to Nigeria’s government officials through designated business proxies, SHELL OIL COMPANY in Nigeria (SNUD) in fact contracted with ex-President Jonathan to manage the $800 million wired into the JP Morgan bank account in New York.

        It was the Italian Oil company (ENI) which wired the money, but based on Adoke Muhammed’s latest
        revelation, SHEL Oil was given management rights over the funds. No matter howsoever it is defined management rights over cash includes majorly a right to approve to whom it should be paid. Therefore,
        if Adoke Muhammed is correct SHELL oil company would be criminally complicit, notwithstanding that it
        was Goodluck Jonathan who gave the initial approval that the whole money be paid first into that NNPC (Nigeria’s state oil company) in the JP Morgan New York account.

        If as Adoke Muhammed said SHELL Oil company then had joint control thereafter with Jonathan,
        like co-signatories of a bank account in directing payments from that account, SHELL would be culpable
        as Goodluck Jonathan for moneylaundering both in Nigeria and America. The long and the short of Adoke’s defence is that there was presidential approval for this illicit transaction. In other words,
        Adoke is hiding behind whatever immunity he supposes may still accrue to Goodluck Jonathan.

        • el figaro

          @disqus_31JhQWprO7:disqus: But the folly
          of Shell Oil is less hilarious than the theatrics of Eni Agip Oil which paid
          the entire $1.1 billion and keep saying it was not paid as bribe. ENI even
          hired a U.S lawfirm it paid fees to do an internal investigation and
          predictably come to that tailor-made conclusion. But that’s folly in excelsis.
          The OPL 245 is forfeited by law in Nigeria. What ENI should be worried about is
          how to recover its $1.1billion; not how to look saintly after the fact. Unless
          ENI wakes up from slumber and starts recovery process from the seven people
          alleged to have divided the ENI money as loot, ENI will be the greatest loser
          in this comedy of errors.

          • Foreign News

            “Without competitive tendering and with full, unconditional exemption from all national taxes,

            the OPL 245 block was bought illegally in contravention of domestic laws. In total, $801.5

            million was allegedly transferred to Etete’s Malabu accounts; and $466 million out of the

            amount was used for remunerating government officials, including Jonathan and

            Alison-Madueke. A suspected “agent” of Jonathan, named Abubakar Aliyu, is

            alleged to have withdrawn a further $54 million and beneficiaries of the money

            went on a shopping spree buying property, aeroplanes, armoured cars.”

            ……..Italy Prosecutors’ filed charges in Italian Court

            (December, 2016)

          • Shorty & Sharpy

            SOONER OR LATER GENERAL ALIYU GUSAU WILL BE ARRESTED ON INVESTIGATED FACTS.

            SOONER OR LATER GOODLUCK JONATHAN WILL BE ARRESTED ON INVESTIGATED FACTS.

  • Julius

    The dude should come home and defend himself instead of doing Obanikoro. Staying far away writing irrelevant bullshit to the newspapers . Are we suppose to believe him ?

  • OGK

    What is the man actually studying in Netherlands? It’s all a smokescreen to buy time. The greedy man overturned the Justice ministry, scattered the Efcc and made corruption the trend of the day. In spite of knowing that Malabu was an illegal contraption, he still went on to pay it millions of dollars and you said you acted patriotically. Patriotism, my foot. It is of no use hiding in Netherlands and be spewing nonsense. Sooner or later, you would be smoked out of that hiding place.

    • KANMI

      DEAR EDITOR,

      Muhamadu
      Buhari is a fake Messiah and a fraud rolled into one. Do you believe that
      Bukola Saraki is not facing any corruption case in any court in Nigeria as at
      today? The Buhari government corruptly looks the other way not to see all the exposed
      money frauds committed by Bukola Saraki, including what EFCC uncovered as 77
      separate wire-transfers in a single day whilst Bukola Saraki was in office as
      the robber, oh sorry, governor of Kwara state.

      The Buhari
      government has not filed any court case against Bukola Saraki for swindling
      Kwara state of about three [3] billion Naira in excess deduction of I.M.F loan
      either. Since May 29, 2015, Bukola Saraki has not been summoned to any court
      for any money fraud in Nigeria. Is this the Buhari his enablers say is fighting
      corruption, when Buhari is in fact enabling corruption of the highest order?
      Nigerians must organize themselves into armed militias and fight corruption by
      themselves. Buhari is useless in any honest fight against corruption.

  • Okey Okoye

    This man is criminal by NIGERIAN stature. This is nation”s former
    attorney general , immediately the current administration came or took office, he flew or ran out of the country because he knew he is corrupt and will be investigated by the EFCC. Come back and answer the charges against you.

  • JasV

    What is Adonkey – an ass studying in Netherlands?