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OPL 245: Fresh Charges Against Malabu Oil and Gas Limited

EFCC drops Adoke from key OPL 245 case, files fresh charges against Malabu

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

July 02, 2020

Malabu, alongside Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman, and six other companies were arraigned on a 48-count charge before Iyang Ekwo, judge of a federal high court in Abuja.

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.

Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation, had been charged along with the accused when the original case was filed on December 21, 2016.

His name has now been dropped from this particular case — although he is facing another charge of alleged money laundering before Ekwo.

EFCC had filed two separate cases against Adoke on the OPL 245 deal — one on “criminal breach of trust” and the other on “money laundering”.

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.

On Wednesday, EFCC filed a fresh 48-count charge — up from the original nine-count charge of 2016 — with Adoke’s name conspicuously missing from the sheet.

According to the EFCC, Malabu oil alongside Dauzia Etete (Dan Etete), a former minister of petroleum resources, Seidougha Munamuna and Amaran Joseph, both directors of the company who are currently on the run, had “directly or indirectly converted the sum of $401,540 million paid from the federal government of Nigeria Escrow account No: 41451493 IBAN 30CHAS609242411492 with JP Morgan Chase bank in London into the account 2018288005 of Malabu Oil Et 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 Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited whereby taxes due to the Federal Government of Nigeria was waived.”

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

In September 2011, Abubakar and Rocky Top Resources Limited were alleged to have taken control of $336,456,906.78 which was said to be part of proceeds of unlawful activity in the Malabu Oil deal.

The commission also alleged that Carlin International Nigeria Limited, owned by Aliyu Abubakar, sometime in February 2012, failed to disclose a single funds transfer transaction of N300 million it received.

In August 2011, Abubakar and Imperial Union Limited also took control of the sum of $34.540 million received from Malabu Oil and Gas.

It was also alleged that being a signatory to A-Group Construction Company Limited, Abubakar and the company failed to report the sum of N32.108m transferred from the firm’s account to Triax BDC in January 2014; and another N38m the firm received from Falana Properties Limited in August 2015.

The EFCC said being “designated non-financial Institutions, the firms ought to have reported huge financial transactions which were above their threshold pursuant to section 10(1)(b)  of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.

Rocky Top Resources which allegedly received $73.5m from Malabu Oil in September 2013 also failed to report the transaction.

Megatech Engineering and Abubakar were said to have to failed to report $180m transferred to them from Malabu Oil’s account in August 2011. In September 2016, they were said to have also failed to report a transfer of N50m to them.

They were also said to have failed to report the transfer of N253.05m from Megatech’s account to Hasbunallahu BDC Limited in September 2016.

Similarly, Abubakar and Novel Properties were accused of failing to report the deposit of $30m from Malabu Oil and Gas into Novel Properties’ account in September 2011.

All defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

In a similar case before the same court, Abubakar is also standing trial on seven-count charges still on the Malabu OPL 245 oil deal.

In another case before a federal capital territory high court in Gwagwalada, he is also standing trial on 42 counts of fraud in relations to the Malabu oil deal.

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