Reps Reopen Probe Into Controversial $1.1bn Malabu Oil Deal
The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating alleged corruption, malpractices and breach of due process in the award of OPL 245 yesterday reopened its investigation.
Although, the seventh House had concluded probe on the matter, but did not present it’s report,the 8th House resolved on January 27 to re-open the investigation, stressing that Nigeria could not afford to lose an equivalent of “N500bn”, the local value of the money, using the current Naira to 1USD exchange rate.
The committee, which is chaired by a member from Kwara State, Mr. Razak Atunwa, held a session with some of the key stakeholders involved in the deal at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Among those whose representatives met with the committee were Shell and Agip.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was also represented at the session where it was directed to provide information on the outcome of its investigation into the deal within two weeks.
Among former government officials to be summoned by the committee are a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke.
Members of the committee, seeking to highlight how $1.1 billion meant for the Federation Account was ispirited away, expressed shock that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), AA Oil and Gas and Malabu Oil shunned the meeting.
Recalling how the deal started, the committee said Chief Dan Etete, a former minister under the administration of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, awarded the block to himself in 1998, using Malabu Oil and Gas.
“He awarded it to himself for just $20m, out which he paid only $2m”, the committee stated.
It added that former President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked the block, but it was later sold to Shell at $210m, a development that sparked off legal tussles.
The committee recalled that while Malabu was still in court, Adoke and Alison-Madueke were alleged to have “contrived a series of complex agreement of a questionable nature.”
It said, “The summary of the agreement was that Shell and Nigeria Agip Exploration paid $1.1bn to the Federal Government for the oil block.”
However, instead of paying the money into the Federation Account, the committee stated that Adoke and Alison-Madueke “caused the money to be transferred to Malabu, which then spirited the money to various foreign bank accounts.
The EFCC admitted that it had looked into the matter and assured the committee that the agency would furnish it with available information at its disposal.