The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday re-arraigned Malabu Oil and Gas Limited on fresh charges bordering on money laundering.
Malabu and Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman, were re-arraigned alongside six other companies on a 67-count charge before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The companies listed in the charge are: A-Group Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties and Development Company Limited and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit, which initially had nine counts, was filed in 2016.
In the nine-count charge, former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, and a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, were mentioned in the suit.
But the names of Adoke and Etete were removed when the defendants were re-arraigned in an amended 48-count charge on July 1, although the EFCC had denied dropping Adoke’s name from the case.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Abubakar and the other six companies pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
EFCC’s lawyer Bala Sanga told the court that Malabu Oil, alongside Dauzia Etete (Dan Etete), Seidougha Munamuna and Amaran Joseph, both directors of the company, who are said to be on the run, “took control of $401,540,000 paid from the Federal Government of Nigeria Escrow Account Number 0041451493 IBAN 30CHAS609242411492 with JP Morgan Chase Bank in London into the account 2018288005 of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Limited”.
Sanga alleged that Malabu Oil negotiated and signed the “Block 245 Resolution Agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria with Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, whereby taxes, accruals and royalties due to the Federal Government of Nigeria were unlawfully waived”.
Abubakar was accused of using his companies to receive money, said to be proceeds from the Malabu Oil deal.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the commencement of trial till September 10.