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OPL 245: EFCC re-arraigns Malabu, six companies for ‘money laundering’

OPL 245: EFCC re-arraigns Malabu, six companies for ‘money laundering’
September 08
17:11 2020

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has again arraigned Malabu Oil and Gas Limited on fresh charges of money laundering in the OPL 245 deal of 2011.

Malabu and Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman, were re-arraigned alongside six other companies on a 67-count charge before a federal high court in Abuja on Tuesday.

The companies listed in the charge are: A-Group Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.

The suit marked FHC/CR/268/2016 which was filed in 2016 initially had just nine counts.


Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation and Dan Etete, a former minister of petroleum resources, were mentioned in the nine-count charge.

Adoke was accused of facilitating illegal payment of $801,540,000to Etete and Malabu Oil and Gas.

However, TheCable observed that the name of Adoke had been removed when the other defendants were re-arraigned on an amended 48-count charge on July 1, 2020 – although the EFCC has denied dropping Adoke’s name from the case.


TheCable understands that Adoke’s name was dropped because of the April 31, 2018 judgment of BFM Nyako, a judge of the federal high court, Abuja, who declared that the former AGF could not be held responsible for carrying out lawful presidential directives.

At the commencement of proceedings on Tuesday, Malabu Oil and Gas, Abubakar and the other six companies pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

According to the EFCC, Malabu oil alongside Dauzia Etete (Dan Etete),  Seidougha Munamuna and Amaran Joseph, both directors of the company, who are currently on the run, “took control of the sum of $401,540,000 paid from the federal government of Nigeria Escrow Account No: 0041451493 IBAN 30CHAS609242411492 with JP Morgan Chase Bank in London into the account 2018288005 of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Limited”

The anti-graft agency alleged that Malabu oil negotiated and signed the “block 245 resolution agreement with the federal government of Nigeria with Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, whereby taxes, accruals and royalties due to the federal government of Nigeria were unlawfully waived.”


Abubakar, on the other hand, was accused of using his companies to receive monies which were proceeds from the Malabu oil deal.


In count 67, the EFCC alleged that Abubakar failed to report a case payment of N300 million from Adoke into a Unity Bank account No. 0020302827 owned by Carlin International Nigeria Limited, one of Abubakar’s companies.

Adoke, who is not part of the fresh trial, had said he got a mortgage of N300 million from Unity Bank to buy a N500 million property from Abubakar in 2012.


The money, he said, was paid directly to the account of Abubakar’s Carlin International by the bank.

But when Adoke could not raise his N200 million equity contribution, the mortgage was cancelled  and the N300 million loan returned to the bank.


Abubakar then sold the house to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to Adoke.

In a different case on Monday, the EFCC witness, Rislanudeen Mohammad, who was acting managing director of Unity Bank Plc at the time, had told the court that Adoke gave him $2.2 million (about N360 million at the time) to liquidate the loan, saying the transaction was “legitimate and transparent”.



On April 9, 1998, the federal military government awarded OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, which was said to be owned mainly by Mohammed Abacha, son of the Sani Abacha, and Etete, who was the petroleum minister at the time.


On July 2, 2001, President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s licence when he realized that it was largely owned by the Abachas’ and assigned the oil block to Shell — without a public bid.

Malabu went to court, but ownership was reverted to it in 2006 after it reached an out-of-court settlement with the federal government.

Shell fought back and commenced arbitration against Nigeria, but in 2011, the federal government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan brokered a deal between Shell/ENI and Malabu.

While Shell and ENI paid a signature bonus of $210 million to the federal government, they paid $1.1 billion to buy 100 percent interest in the OPL 245 oil block from Malabu.

The entire $1.3 billion was transferred to an escrow account of the federal government in JPMorgan Chase Bank, London, UK, from where Malabu was paid its $1.1 billion.

Subsequently, it was alleged that bribes were paid to officials of the government to facilitate the deal, which is considered unfavourable to Nigeria as the value of the oil block is estimated to be worth much more than what was paid for it.


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