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Face-off over Malabu Shell/Eni oil bloc scam

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From Godwin Tsa, Abuja: 10 FEB 2016

A letter written to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, directing him to forward the case file to him, has not been complied with two weeks after it was served on him.

President Muhammadu Buhari began the process in retrieving the licence by revisiting the issues around the controversial oil bloc which has bogged other past governments enmeshed in its illegal transfer to a new ownership.

Some top government officials in the Jonathan administration were involved in the controversial deal which has short-changed the nation for the selfishness of some private citizens.

The recommendation to retrieve the oil bloc was at the instance of Malami, who was determined to ensure that the outcome of the new effort is in public interest.

Sources in the Justice Ministry revealed that Malami had through a letter addressed to Magu dated January 28, 2016 and signed by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Muhammad Saidu Diri, asked the commission to forward the case file.

Already, there are allegations from shareholders that the EFCC was bent on frustrating the exercise by ignoring the AGF’s directive.

Investigations revealed that an interest group represented by one Lawan Abba, consultant to the majority shareholders of the Malabu Oil & Gas Limited that controls 70 per cent of the stakes in the controversial oil bloc are expressing fears that the slow pace by the commission to react to the ministerial order may result to the alteration of some documents in the case diary.

But when contacted on the allegation, EFCC’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, declined comments on the matter. He said: “I don’t know the group and cannot comment on the issue.”

Abba represents Mohammad Sani Abacha, who controls 50 per cent stake and PECOS Energy Nigeria Limited which has 20 per cent, amounting to cumulative shares of 70 per cent.

The group also believes that some people in the Presidency are also interested in removing the case from the AGF’s office and therefore, making surreptitious moves to take over its prosecution from the Justice Ministry and give it to their cronies due to its lucrative nature.

SOURCE

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