- Court fixes September 10 for trial
The Federal Government yesterday rearraigned an oil magnate, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, and seven others on an amended 67 criminal count charges over their alleged complicity in the disputed Oil Processing License (OPL) 245, otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
Abubakar was, last July, arraigned on a 48-count criminal charge bordering on money laundering, fraud and failure to disclose huge financial transactions in line with the nation’s financial laws. Abubakar and others at large are also linked to huge fraud of over $1 billion in the Malabu Oil deal.
The others are: Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, AGroup Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, Imperial Union Limited and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malabu Oil and Gas Limited negotiated and signed the “Block 245 resolution agreement with Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited whereby taxes due to the Federal Government of Nigeria was waived.”
In the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, Abubakar was also accused of using his companies to receive monies which were proceeds from the Malabu Oil deal. He, however, pleaded not guilty to all 67 charges read to him. In a short ruling, trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed September 10 for commencement of trial. They stated that the court had earlier fixed September 7 for trial, but had to allow the defendant take his plea in the amended charge.
The charge reads in part: “That you, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Seidougha Munamuna (at large), Amaran Joseph (at large) and Dauzia Loya Etete (at large), on or about August 30, 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took control of the sum of $74,200,000.03 paid from the Federal Government of Nigeria Escrow Account No: 0041451493 IBAN 30CHA5609242411492 with JP Morgan Chase Bank in London into the account No. 1005552028 of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited domiciled with Bank PHB Plc.
(Now Keystone Bank Limited Account No, 3610042472), when you reasonably ought to have known that the funds formed part of an unlawful activity.
“That Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Seidougha Munamuna (at large), Amaran Joseph (at large) and Dauzia Loya Etete (at large), transferred the sum of $74,271,750.00 from Malabu Oil & Gas Limited account No. 3610042472 domiciled with Keystone Bank Limited to Rocky Top Resources Limited, when they reasonably ought to have known that the said funds formed part of an unlawful activity.”