Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed, an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday narrated how a former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Dan Etete allegedly shared the proceed of $1.3 billion from the sale of Oil Processing License (OPL) 245 among his associates
OPL 245 otherwise known as Malabu Oil was said to be owned by Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
Its sales said to be enmeshed in complicity and fraud have been contested in the courts even outside Nigeria.
Giving evidence before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Ahmed narrated how the proceeds from the sale was transferred from JP Morgan into Malabu’s accounts with First Bank and BankPHB (now Keystone Bank) and subsequently transferred to various companies’ accounts.
According to the witness, some of the beneficiary companies included those owned by, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar, an Abuja businessman currently standing trial before the court.
Besides Abubakar, the EFCC is prosecuting seven other companies said to have benefitted from the alleged diversion of the proceeds of Malabu Oil sales.
They are Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, A. Group Construction Company Ltd, Rocky Top Resources Ltd, Megatech Engineering Ltd, Novel Properties and Development Company Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd and Carlin International Nigeria Ltd.
Ahmed testifying further in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, disclosed that some board resolutions were forged to alter the actual ownership of Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
Led in evidence by EFCC’s lawyers, Offem Uket, Ahmed said: “Again, in 2010 another purported board resolution was filed in Corporate Affairs Commission by one Barrister Ayo Ademola.
‘The documents filed by Ademola suggested that the initial directors have resigned their directorship and their shares in which Joseph Amara and Seisougha Munamuna were appointed as directors not minding the changes earlier made.
“When the documents were filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission, having them discovered that those documents were forged, the Corporate Affairs Commission returned the company to status quo.
“Similarly, the second step was to identify the bank accounts owned by Malabu Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited and the investigating team discovered that Malabu Oil and Gas have two accounts which are domiciliary accounts domiciled at First Bank and former Bank PHB and the only signatory to the accounts was Chief Duazia Loya Etete,” he said.
Speaking further, the EFCC official said that analysis of the statement of account, revealed that the account of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited domiciled with Keystone Bank (formerly Bank PHB) on August 24, 2011 received the sum of $400 million from JP Morgan.
He stated further that Etete, on September 6, 2011, fraudulently transferred the sum of $334 million to Rocky Top Resources account domiciled with the same Keystone Bank.
“On September 24, 2013, another sum of $75 million were transferred to the same Malabu Oil and Gas Limited account with Keystone Bank out of which $74 million and some fractions, same was transferred to the Rocky Top Resources account but only $73 million and some fractions got into the account.
“Similarly, on August 24, 2011, another sum of $401,540,000.00 was transferred to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited account with First Bank from J. P. Morgan.
“On August 29, 2011, Chief Etete transferred the sum of $157 million into the account of A Group Construction Company Limited.
“On the same August 29, 2011, Chief Etete again transferred the sum of $180 million to the Megatech Engineering Ltd.
“On the same August 29, 2011, the same Chief Etete transferred the sum of $34,540,000.00 to Novel Properties and Development Limited.
“On September 2, 2011, he transferred another sum of $30 million to Novel Property and Development Limited,” he alleged.
On the account with First Bank, he said his team, “discovered that A Group Construction received $157 million from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Megatech Engineering received $180 million from Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
“Furthermore, Novel Property received $34,540,000.00 and also $30,000 000.00 from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.”
Ahmed disclosed that on further studying of the account opening documents of MegaTech Engineering and, A Group Construction Company, it was discovered that Aliyu Abubakar (the 8th defendant) was the signatory to the accounts.
He added that investigation revealed that before the transfer to Rocky Top Resources, Aliyu Abubakar had interest in the company, adding that when the money came in, he sold the company and introduced Chief Dan Etete as the sole signatory of the account.
He told the court how Abubakar volunteered statements and the prosecution was at the point of determining the statements when the defence team including Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Joshua Musa (SAN) and others objected on the grounds that the statements were not made voluntarily.
Responding, trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo opted to conduct a trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness or otherwise of the statements.
Justice Ekwo then adjourned till October 24 for the commencement of the trial-within-trial.