Mohammed Bello Adoke, Former Nigerian Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, has claimed innocence of any fraud in the controversial Malabu Oil Settlement Scandal, saying the transaction was approved by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. He said this in a letter to His Successor .
Mr. Adoke’s letter was predictably heavy on complaints against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which he accused of filing spurious and malicious corruption charges against him,other individuals and companies involved in the transaction. He argued that EFCC’s actions connote an attempt to impugn the transaction, which was scrutinized and approved by Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan as well as three Attorneys-General.
“The actions of the EFCC in respect of the transaction are not in the national interest, but rather in furtherance of a plot to serve the interests of some powerful families and individuals who are aggrieved by my refusal to accede to their requests to compel Malabu to pay them certain sums from the proceeds of its divestment in OPL 245, and the subsequent re-allocation of the Bloc to Shell/ENI,” Mr. Adoke told Mr. Malami.
The former Attorney-General added that he remains surprised that an agency like the EFCC is being used by people whose claim or shareholding in Malabu remains shady. “The pertinent questions that must be asked are: Why are these powerful families and individuals reluctant to litigate their dispute in the law courts if they are confident about their legal claims to the Shares of Malabu? Why are they intent on using state actors and institutions for their private benefits? Where were they when Malabu was negotiating with the Federal Government from 2006 to 2011, when the Settlement was finally implemented? Hon. Attorney General, you will be doing Nigerians a great favour by asking the EFCC, the Abacha family and other powerful individuals involved to answer these important questions,” said Mr. Adoke.
The former Attorney-General then delved into the history of the saga, which he said the EFCC has routinely circumcised. “It will be recalled that the Terms of Settlement encapsulating details of the Settlement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited (Malabu) was executed on 30th November 2006. The Terms of Settlement, which was later reduced to a Consent Judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, was brokered by our predecessor in office, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN)and signed on behalf of the Federal Government of by the then Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo,” recalled Mr. Adoke.