By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja – The Federal Government has filed a fresh 42-count charge against former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke and six others over alleged fraud in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.
Adoke is being charged alongside Rasky Gbinigie, A. Abubakar, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Limited.
The Federal Government, in a document with charge number CR/151/2020 dated Jan. 14 and filed on Jan. 15, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, accused Adoke and others of receiving gratification to allegedly carry out a fraudulent oil deal.
According to the FG, as Attorney-General, Adoke mediated controversial agreements that ceded OPL 245 to Shell and Eni who in turn paid about $1.1 billion dollars to accounts controlled by former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Etete, now at large, was a former Petroleum Minister under the regime of General Sani Abacha.
NAN also reports that Adoke, since he left the country after the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, returned into the country on Dec. 19, 2019 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was arrested by the operatives of the EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
He is being charged by the anti-graft agency on alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.
According to the charge, the former AGF in August 2013 in Abuja while serving as a minister knowingly received United State Dollars equivalent of N300million which is reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully obtained and thereby committed offence punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap. 532laws of the federation of Nigeria 1990.
The suit, signed by Bala Sanga on behalf of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, further said that one of the accused persons, Rasky Gbinigie conspired with Munamuna Seidougha (at large), Amaran Joseph (at large) and Dauzia Loya Etete (at large), sometime in 2013, in Abuja, dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani to open a Bank Account No. 2018288005 with First Bank of Nigeria Plc to receive the sum of $401. 5 million.
According to the charge, the accused persons committed an offence contrary to section 366 of the Penal Code and punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.
In count seven, Adoke was said to have in September 2013 knowingly and unlawfully obtained the sum of US dollars equivalent to N367,318,800 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap.532 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 1990.
In the charge, Gbinigie, the company secretary of Malabu oil was said to have made false resignation letter signed by one Alhaji Hassan Hindu as having resigned from the Board of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited with intent to commit fraud.
Some of the charges, among others, read: “That you, Mohammed Bello Adoke, being a public servant at the material time, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice of the Government of Nigeria, sometime in
August 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court was in possession and custody of the sum of N300m reasonably suspected to have been unlawfully obtained and thereby committed an offence an offence under section 319A of the Penal Code and punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.
“That you, Mohammed Bello Adoke, being a public servant at the material time, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice of the Government of Nigeria, sometime in 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, accepted for yourself without consideration, the sum of N300m to broker the negotiation and signing of the Block 245 Resolution Agreement with Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited and thereby committed an offence under section 119 of the Penal Code and Punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.”