In a petition released on Monday, Bello Adoke, a former Attorney-General of the Federation under Goodluck Jonathan‘s administration, claimed that former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and Goodluck Jonathan were involved in the controversial Malabu Oil deal.
“I believe it is your responsibility to explain to the public who are being sold a fiction that the transaction started from President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR under whose administration the Terms of Settlement were brokered with Bayo Ojo, SAN, as the then Attorney General who executed the Terms of Settlement before the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR who approved the final implementation of the Terms of Settlement and my humble self who executed the resolution agreements. This is more so as the Settlement and its implementation were situated in the Federal Ministry of Justice,” Premium Times quoted Adoke as saying in a petition, dated March 6, to Abubakar Malami, the incumbent AGF.
Reacting to the news, Obasanjo denied involvement in the deal.
“Adoke and others should not drag me into a matter I know nothing about. If they have been asked to answer questions over decisions they took while in office, they should do that honourably. They should not bring Obasanjo into an Etete deal. I was not part of any such deal,” Obasanjo told Premium Times.
He said that it was inappropriate for any government functionary to “appropriate to himself or herself what he or she is in charge of.”
“If I hold that view, I could not have approved a deal with Dan Etete. What Etete did is the height of corruption. He appropriated the asset to himself illegally, illegitimately and immorally,” Obasanjo said.
Dan Etete, Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister in 1998 had awarded the licence for OPL 245 oil block to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company he owned.
That contract was nullified by Obasanjo when he assumed office as president in 1999.
According to TheCable; “Obasanjo assigned the oil block to Shell – without public bid. Ownership was suspiciously reverted to Malabu thereafter, leading to legal action by Shell who later resorted to negotiating directly with Etete after President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in 2010.”
The report added that of the $1.3 billion paid by Shell and Eni for the block, only $210 million went into the federal government’s treasury as “signature bonus” while the rest went to Malabu Oil and Gas.
Adoke, in his petition, claimed Obasanjo’s administration entered into another agreement, to hand the oil block back to Malabu Oil and Gas.
“I can’t remember giving approval that the block be given back to Etete.
We gave it back to Malabu? On what ground? Do you have any such evidence? Ask Bayo Ojo and Edmund Daukoru (Obasanjo’s Junior Petroleum Minister at the time) what really happened because the stand I took at the time was unassailable.
If Daukoru has evidence that I approved that the block be given back to Malabu or Etete, let him produce it. If it is proven that I indeed approved the deal, I will be willing to apologise to Nigerians. But we have to get to the bottom of it all,” the former president told Premium Times.
Documents published by TheCable show that Obasanjo’s government approved that the oil block be returned to Malabu Oil and Gas.
This is according to a later dated December 2, 2006, and signed by Edmund Daukoru. See below:
Malabu Oil and Gas Limited – out-of-court settlement in respect to OPL 245
We are delighted to convey that the president of the federal republic of Nigeria and commander-in-chief of the armed forces having concluded a review of your legal claims for the return of the oil block 245 has graciously approved and directed as follows.
Malabu Oil and Gas Limited shall be at liberty to exercise all rights incidental to and consequent upon the return of the oil block to it and shall be free to assign, pledge or deal in any way with its restored rights in OPL 245, in whole or in part to any 3rd party subject as always to the operative laws of Nigeria including but not limited to obtaining all approvals permit and appropriate consents necessary.
The oil block has been handed over to the federal government following a Federal High Court order on January 26.
The EFCC had filed a motion in that regard. Shell and Agip had also applied that the ruling be reversed.