By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Insists key players were not charged for fraud
.As court rules on Adoke’s suit to stop trial Feb 28
ABUJA — The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has, in a fresh memo, tackled the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for not conducting a thorough investigation in the $1.1 billion Malabu Oil fraud.
The AGF, in the memo marked DPPA/FMPR/108/17, queried Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who he said should explain why some “principal players” in the alleged fraudulent sale of OPL 245 were not included as defendants in any of the charges the anti-graft agency filed in court.
Specifically, Malami, in the letter he addressed to Magu, noted that key suspects, such as one Rasky Gbinigie, who was Company Secretary of Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd and who he said was instrumental in the filing of forms at the Corporate Affairs Commission that fraudently changed the directors and the share structure of the company, was not charged by the EFCC.
He equally observed that two other persons, Seidugha Munamuna and Kweku Amefegha, who were not only consistent directors of the oil firm, but held varying share allotments in the company, were exempted from prosecution by the anti-graft commission.
Malami said he was dissatified with the level of investigation that was conducted by the EFCC, after he vetted the case-file that contained charges against the former AGF, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, as well as a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete, among others.
He maintained that a review of the case-file indicated that the entire proof of evidence EFCC adduced after its investigations, would not support the charge of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering it levelled against Adoke and his co-defendants.
Malami said it was, therefore, unrealistic for the EFCC to proceed with charges against the Malabu Oil deal scam suspects as currently constituted.
While demanding a more holistic investigation, the AGF directed the EFCC to take steps to urgently file an application for a worldwide Mareva injunction and or for forfeiture of assets of beneficiaries of the $1.1 billion Malabu Oil deal, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Meantime, the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, admitted Malami’s letter, dated September 20, 2017, as an exhibit in a suit seeking to quash EFCC’s charge against Adoke and others fingered in the Malabu fraud.
Justice Binta Nyako admitted the letter after it was tendered by Adoke’s legal team led by a former AGF, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN.
Adoke had gone before the court to challenge the competence of two sets of criminal charges EFCC preferred against him over the alleged oil bloc fraud, contending that he only played intermediary role in the enforcement of an out-of-court settlement deal that preceded his assumption to office as an AGF under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Justice Nyako fixed February 28 to determine the merit of Adoke’s suit.
Meanwhile, Malami’s letter, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard on Thursday, read: “Having fully examined the entire casefile, I am inclined to request you to reconsider the charge in relation to the composition of the parties, the offences, the proof of evidence and the case summary, in view of the fact that nothing in the proof of evidence appear to have directly linked the parties to the offences charged.
“A curious observation of the entire file clearly indicate the prove of evidence is unlikely to support the count which border on fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.