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Hassan Adamu: I used pseudonym for Malabu but had no dealings with Adoke over OPL 245

Hassan Adamu: I used pseudonym for Malabu but had no dealings with Adoke over OPL 245
January 26
23:48 2022

Hassan Adamu, Wakilin Adamawa and Nigeria’s former ambassador to the US, told an FCT high court sitting in Jabi, Abuaj, on Wednesday that he initially used a pseudonym for the incorporation of Malabu Oil and Gas in 1998.

He, however, said he did not have any dealings with Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation, in the OPL 245 deal in 2011.

Adamu is a key prosecution witness presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the OPL 245 trial before Justice Abubakar Kutigi.

He was alleged to have used a pseudonym, Hassan Hindu Wabi, to own 20 percent of Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, the company that was awarded the oil prospecting licence in 1998 by the military government of Sani Abacha.

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Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister at the time, is also alleged to have used a pseudonym in the company’s registration documents.

Mohammed Abacha previous told the court he used a different name as a director of Malabu to acquire OPL 245 when his father was head of state.

The Obasanjo government revoked the licence in 2001 but decided to restore it to Malabu following an out-of-court settlement in 2006.

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Malabu sold 100 percent of the oil block to Eni and Shell in 2011 for $1.1 billion, but the deal has been enmeshed in controversy following allegations that the payment, made via the account of the federal government, might have been funnelled to politicians.

An Italian court dismissed allegations of corruption last year and discharged and acquitted ENI, Shell and other defendants.

EFCC filed charges of corruption against Adoke, who was the attorney-general in 2011 when the oil block was returned to Malabu, and six others: Aliyu Abubakar (second defendant), a businessman; and Rasky Gbinigie (third), company secretary of Malabu; Malabu Oil and Gas Limited (fourth), Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (fifth), Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited (sixth) and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited (seventh).

WHAT HAPPEND IN COURT?

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On Wednesday, Bala Sanga, the EFCC prosecutor, apologised to the court that he could only present one witness as against the three he had slated.

“One is absent because he is bereaved (he lost his wife) and the other is absent because he tested positive for Corona. So, we have only one witness in court today,” he said.

The following conservation ensued.

Sanga: What do you do for a living?

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Adamu: I am a retired diplomat and a businessman.

Sanga: Please tell the court if you know the defendants in the suit.

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Adamu: Yes, I know Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke

Sanga: Under what circumstances do you know the first defendant

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Adamu: As the honourable attorney-general of the federation

Sanga: Can you explain to the court your circumstances of involvement with Malabu oil Gas (MOG)

Adamu: Sometime in 1998, Dan Etete, the former minister of petroleum, called me and told me he was incorporating an oil and gas company called Malabu Oil and he wanted me to be a shareholder. I gave him a pseudonym ‘Hassan Hindu’ and I told him that I will come back to him later with a real name. Later I went back to him and told him the name of someone who is conversant with the oil business. So I gave him the name of Alhaji Ahmed Jabu who took over from me (Hassan Hindu). I called Alhaji Aliyu Jabu and informed him that Dan Etete was incorporating Malabu Oil and Gas and he wants him to be a shareholder and director. That he should contact Dan Etete himself to hear from him. Later on, he informed me that he had accepted the shareholders and directorship of Malabu Oil and Gas. So, I told Dan Etete that he should change the pseudonym I gave him to Alhaji Aliyu Jabu to be a shareholder. That I am no longer interested in the business. Alhaji A. Jabu then signed all the documents to be shareholder and director. Since that time, Etete never contacted me again, neither did I attend any meeting with regards to Malabu Oil and Gas.

Sanga: You have told the court the Malabu was incorporated in 1998. Can you tell the court the initial shareholders and directors?

Adamu: To my recollection, Mohammed Sani and I were the shareholders.

Sanga: Can you confirm to the court if you or the said Hassan Hindu ever signed any documents or attended a meeting?

Judge: He has answered

Sanga: You also told the court that the name Hassan Hindu was replaced with Aliyu Mohammed Jabi. (He read out Adamu’s statement in the proof of evidence). Can you tell the court about the sale of the shares of Aliyu Mohammed Jabo.

Adamu: He sold his shares in Malabu to Pecos Oil and Gas for 5M USD.

Judge: Any cross examination?

Kanu Agabi asked the court to permit Paul Erokoro to conduct cross examination and the court obliged. Both senior lawyers are represented Adoke.

Erokoro: Your Excellency Sir, you were a minister under president Obasanjo.

Adamu: Yes sir

Erokoro: Can you tell the court anything that happened at that time concerning Malabu? You seemed to have kept touch in that company. Were you aware that the oil block was cancelled by the government in your time?

Adamu: I was told that 214 and 245 were revoked by the federal government.

Erokoro: You are aware that following that revocation, court cases and arbitrations followed.

Adamu: Jabu told me that Etete went to court claiming his ownership of Malabu. I read in the newspapers.

Erokoro: You are also aware that the government tried to settle the matter with Malabu and Dan Etete?

Adamu: No

Erokoro: You told the EFCC in your statement that you are aware that the matter was settled and you did not receive any money from the settlement?

Adamu: No

Erokoro: Did you make a statement to the EFCC?

Adamu: I never received a kobo

Judge: just listen to the questions

Erokoro: Do you remember saying that everything about Malabu was filthy in your statement to the EFCC?

Adamu: No (checks his statement in the proof of evidence)

Erokoro: May I ask that the original of his statement?

Sanga: It is not here and he should apply to make it available.

Erokoro: Permit me to allow the statement that was front loaded and filed in court.

Judge: Let’s take advantage of the rules of court.

Erokoro: I withdraw the question. You did not receive any money you said?

Adamu: No.

Erokoro: Was this matter ever discussed in FEC when you were a minister?

Adamu: No.

Erokoro: You told the court that you know the first defendant.

Adamu: Yes, Bello Adoke.

Erokoro: How do you know him Sir

Adamu: As the honourable AGF. The way all Nigerians know him

Erokoro: You did not know him in relation to this Malabu transaction?

Adamu: Yes.

Judge: Bala, you have the witness and proof of evidence, bring all the documents to court in line with the rules. It’s not hide and seek. Allow the parties to take advantage of the rules as we do not take photocopy. It is his prerogative to tender but not to bring it to court. Whatever you have listed by s.379, you bring them to court to avoid unnecessary arguments.

Second defendant: No question

Third defendant: Your Excellency Sir, you told this court that Malabu was incorporated in 1998. Is that correct?

Adamu: Yes.

Did you discuss the issue of Malabu with the late Gen. Sani Abacha?

Adamu: No

Who did you discuss it with?

Adamu: No one.

You also informed the court that you gave Dan Etete a pseudonym. At the time you were discussing with Etete, who was present with you?

Adamu: No one,

Have you ever met the 3rd defendant before?

Adamu: No

You are never spoken with him via any telecommunications device?

Adamu: No

Do you have any office in VI lagos?

Adamu: I have a house but not an office.

Have you met Dan Etete in that house before?

Adamu: I only met him in his office at the Federal Secretariat.

Can you recall your statement with the EFCC where you told them you discussed Malabu with Abacha?The name Hassan Hindu was to protect your interest yes or no

Adamu: No

You also stated that you introduced Alhaji Jabo Mohammed and you told him to call Dan Etete and all his activities he has been reporting to you? Did you direct Jabo sign incorporating documents?

Adamu: How can I direct him when I am not a shareholder or in charge.

Are you aware of any sale of shares of Jabo?

Adamu: I told you already that he told me that he sold his shares to…

Do you know the amount that he sold the shares? Do you know the account that the proceeds of the sale of shares was paid to?

Adamu: I was not a director of the coy and I don’t know what was paid to him.

My Lord, we need the statement as they are somethings that he said and we need to confront him with the statement. We will have to recall the statement.

Fourth defendant: Did you sign any documents for the incorporation of Malabu in the name of Hassan Hindu Wabi?

Adamu: No, it is Aliyu that signed it.

Fourth defendant: Was Alhaji Aliyu Jabo your nominee in Malabu?

Adamu: He replaced Hindu

Fourth defendant: Do you know the directors if Malabu?

Adamu: No.

Fourth defendant: Have you ever attended any meeting of the board of directors of Malabu?

Adamu: There was never a board meeting.

Fifth defendant: No question

Sixth and seventh defendants: No questions

Judge: I discharge the witness. They can still ask that the witness be recalled when the statement is brought to be tendered.

Case was adjourned to February 21, 2022 for continuation of hearing.

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