Malabu: Court orders the arrest of Etete, Adoke

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A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Jabi, Wednesday, ordered the arrest of former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, as well as former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, over the Malabu oil scandal.

Others declared wanted are: Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno and Burrato Sebastiano.

“Justice D.Z. Senchi of a FCT High Court, Jabi has granted prayers of the EFCC, and issued a warrant of arrest against Dan Etete, ex-Minister of Petroleum & Mohammed Adoke, ex-AGF implicated in the Malabu Oil Deal. They are to be arrested anywhere they are found,” the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision(EFCC) announced via a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, in a statement, said, “They were meant to be arraigned before Justice Senchi on Wednesday, April 17, to face charges related to the Malabu Oil Scandal but failed to show up.

“The EFCC had since 2017 pressed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Eni Spa, Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastiano, Duazia Louya Etete (aka Dan Etete), Mohammed Bello Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited. All the defendants declared wanted had repeatedly failed to appear before the court.

“In view of their persistent absence in court, the EFCC had through its counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, brought a motion ex parte praying the court for a warrant of their arrest, and an order for leave to execute the warrant outside of the jurisdiction of the court.
“At today’s proceeding, Justice Senchi, granted the prayers of the EFCC, and ruled that the Nigeria Police, the INTERPOL and any other law enforcement agency should arrest them anywhere they were found including outside jurisdiction of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) High Court.
“The matter was adjourned to July 11, 2019 for further hearing,” the statement read.

Background story

In 2011, Shell and the Italian oil company Eni paid $1.1 billion in a murky deal for an oil block located off the coast of Nigeria: OPL 245. According to international body, Global Witness, it was able to track documents showing that this money didn’t go to benefit the Nigerian people.

“Instead it went to convicted money launderer and former oil Minister, Dan Etete, who had awarded himself ownership of the block in 1998 via a company he secretly owned, Malabu Oil and Gas, ” Global Witness says in a report.

After six years of denying any wrongdoing, Global Witness’ investigation forced Shell to admit it knew the money would be diverted into private hands, and went ahead with the deal anyway.

The landmark trial, which began hearing evidence in Milan in September 2018, involves current and former senior staff from two of the world’s largest corporations. They include Eni’s current CEO Claudio Descalzi, and former Royal Dutch Shell Executive Director for Upstream, Malcolm Brinded CBE.

The case brought by the Milan Public Prosecutor alleges that $520 million from the deal was converted into cash and intended to be paid to then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and other Nigerian government officials. The prosecutors further allege that money was also channelled to Eni and Shell executives, with $50 million in cash delivered to the home of Eni’s then head of African Operations Roberto Casula.

Meanwhile the trial of two oil giants involved in the deal; Eni and Shell resumed today in Milan with a Nigerian law expert, Felicia Segun saying President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the deal in which the two oil firms paid $1.1 billion that never went to the public treasury.

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