Mr. Adoke told a U.K. organisation that he had been cleared by the House of Representatives.
While the House of Representatives’ committee report into the Malabu oil bloc deal was laid only last week, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, who is amongst those central to the case, raised a letter more than two months ago to a UK based watchdog, claiming he had been exonerated.
Lawmakers have accused Mr. Adoke of “lying” and disparaging the integrity of the House over a report they have yet to consider; and on Tuesday, summoned the minister for explanations in a new twist to the huge fraud in excess of N170 billion.
“How can a minister lie to the whole world? If you as a minister could lie outside and that is later found out, what impression will that leave on us as a nation? And you say you are fighting corruption,” said Samson Osagie, who raised the matter before the House on Tuesday.
Details of the minister’s letter to U.K.-based Global Witness, obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES, show how the minister labored to convince the group of Nigerian officials’ innocence in the scandal; and how he rebuffed calls for further inquiry into the matter.
Mr. Adoke maintained in the letter that the role of the federal government in the scandal – which involves what officials call multibillion naira fraud by a former minister on a lucrative government oil bloc – was strictly as an “obligor”, in this case an intermediary that only mediated to settle a long drawn case capable of hurting the government’s interest.
The controversial bloc, OPL 245, estimated to hold over seven billion barrels of oil, was assigned by former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, in 1998 to Malabu, a company lengthy investigations by PREMIUM TIMES have shown to be partly his, although he has repeatedly denied ownership.
After the Obasanjo administration revoked the deal and awarded same to Shell, sparking a lengthy ownership tussle with Malabu, both sides eventually settled in 2011 with the title fully transferred to Shell and Eni, while the two companies agreed to pay $1.1 billion to Malabu. Read more