Malabu Oil: EFCC re-arraigns former AGF Adoke, others

Mohammed Adoke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned the former attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice Mohammed Adoke and six others before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Gwagwalada on an amended 42-count charge of corruption.

Prosecution counsel Bala Sanga said the charge was amended “to enlarge the scope of criminal liabilities” against the defendants.

Others re-arraigned alongside Mr Adoke include Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie and four companies: Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.

Arraigned before Justice Abubakar Kutigi, the defendants pleaded not guilty.

They were initially docked before the court on January 23.

EFCC had in the charge marked FCT/CR/151/2020 alleged that Adoke, who was AGF in the Jonathan administration and the other defendants, were involved in fraud and bribery in the Malabu Oil bloc deal to the tune of about $1.1billion.

EFCC alleged that Adoke who was arrested upon his return to the country from Dubai, United Arab Emirates on December 19, 2019, received gratification to facilitate the alleged oil bloc fraud.

It alleged that it was the ex-AGF that mediated controversial agreements that ceded OPL 245 to two oil giants, Shell and Eni, who in turn paid about $1.1 billion to accounts controlled by an ex-convict and former petroleum minister Dan Etete.

OPL 245 was initially awarded to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 1998 by the late military head of state Sani Abacha in a process the EFCC insisted was against all known government regulations. EFCC said its investigations revealed that Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd secured OPL 245 through a fraudulent scheme involving high scale bribery and corruption by top management of the company and some government officials.

Justice Kutigi adjourned the case to April 14 for commencement of hearing, and allowed the defendants to continue on the bail terms the court earlier granted to them.