Malabu Oil: FG recovers $85m; EFFC fails to present Etete, Adoke in court

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke

By Jite Eriabie

The inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to present former federal ministers, Dan Etete and Mohammed Adoke, in court on Thursday, stalled their trial for alleged diversion of $1.1 billion in the controversial sale of Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245 popularly known as the Malabu Oil deal. 

This is even as the Federal Government said it had recovered $85 million from the United Kingdom as part of the stolen funds from the Malabu Oil deal.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed the recovery on Thursday during a consultative meeting on assets recovery in Abuja, however, decried the non-compliance attitude of some countries that are still holding on to stolen assets.

The AGF reiterated the resolve of the government to recover more funds, having signed several treaties to facilitate the return of stolen assets.

On the court matter, the EFCC had charged the duo of Etete and Adoke with fraud over their roles in the sale of one of Nigeria’s richest the OPL 245 during former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Various charges relating to the matter are before an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice John Tsoho.

One of the cases, involving defendants and a businessman, Abubakar Aliyu, was slated for Thursday but could not proceed because EFCC could not produce the defendants in court.

“My Lord, the process of getting the defendants to come to court has proven difficult,” the agency’s lawyer, Johnson Ojogbane, told the court.

He prayed for a long adjournment to allow the commission finalise discussions with authorities of the countries where the defendants are located to bring them back to the country.

Justice Tsoho adjourned the case till February 15, 2018.  

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