Malabu Oil Scandal: HEDA  Urges FG, Attorney General To Try Corrupt Officials

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 Yemisi Izuora 

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) and its global partners have asked the President Mohammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to stand firm in pursuing criminal conduct associated with the Malabu oil scandal.

 HEDA has been working with international anti-corruption groups, Globalwitness, Cornerhouse and Re:Common in a series of actions that continue to unveil monumental fraud associated with the Malabu oil deal.

 HEDA at the weekend, said the fresh legal fireworks initiated by the Federal authorities in a United Kingdom court is a clear admission that local officials were hands-deep in fraudulent deals running into billions of dollars. The group also berated the AGF for failing to stand firm in assisting Nigeria recover public funds stolen from the Malabu oil deal adding that the illicit funds connected with the Malabu oil deal runs into billions of naira. 

“We are pleased with the new filings by the Federal Government in the UK court. Contrary to this latest acceptance, the Attorney General of the Federation had written to the president, demanding EFCC’s discontinuation of trial of the people and companies involved claiming there are no sufficient evidence to prosecute the case. We reject the AGF for his flip-flop and insufficient support or even disbelieve in the anti-corruption efforts of the agencies”, the statement signed by HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju stated.

 HEDA said though it is pleased that the AGF has now agreed with the EFCC that there are criminal elements in the case and that it is disadvantageous to the interest of Nigeria, but that the AGF needs to go further and back up with practical actions. 

 Findings of the report commissioned by HEDA and its partners through R4DC which was launched last year November and another presented two weeks ago were adopted in the conclusions. In the report, several Nigerian officials including former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu and many oil subsidiary companies were named in the scandal which has been the subject of litigation in Milan, Italy. 

 Other top Nigerians listed are Emeka Obi of EVP, son of former Nigerian Senator and defendant. He was convicted in the Italian criminal proceedings to have provided a link betweenm Etete and Eni. The following were also named Mohammed Bello Adoke, Attorney General of the Federation, (2010 to April 29, 2015), Diezeni Alison Madueke, Minister of Petroleum, April 6 2010 to May, 28, 2015 and a former House of Representative member, Umar Bature.

 The Italian court had said that for the avoidance of doubt, pending disclosure that the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (FRN) reserves the right to plead that the individuals referred to acted as agents for different Shell and Eni entities than those already listed. 

 HEDA said it is delighted that the Italian court had exposed the complicity of many government officials in Nigeria adding that what is expected of the Attorney General is full support and not being ambivalent. The report by the foreign interests had stated that “ so far the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (FRN) was able to provide particulars of individuals involved in the scheme and the negotiation and conclusions of the April 20011 agreement.

HEDA said the Malabu scandal was a huge opportunity for the Nigerian government to show to the international community that the fight against corruption is not a fluke. 

“We cannot talk of development without being serious about the fight against corruption. We cannot talk of foreign investment in an environment riddled with corruption. We can never command global respect when the international community see us as crooks and dishonest people. The Malabu trial is a golden opportunity for Nigeria to prove to the world that the country is ready to do business with dignity and honour,” Suraju said.

 HEDA commended its partners, Globalwitness, Cornerhouse and Re:Common for their partnership in producing the report which exposed one of the biggest fraud in Nigerian energy sector.

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