Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja has ordered the arrest of former Minister of Petroleum, Dauzia Loyal Etete, better known as Dan Etete, in connection with alleged Malabu Oil scam.
Also to be arrested along with Etete by the order of Justice Abubakar Kutigi are Munamuna Seidougha, and Jospeph Amaran.
This order was sequel to an ex parte application made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which had accused them of complicity in the alleged fraudulent allocation of the lucrative Oil Processing Licence 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998.
They were said to be the owners of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to which Etete, as then Minister of Petroleum under the regime of General Sani Abacha, facilitated the fraudulent allocation of the oil block.
The anti-graft agency had named Etete, Seidougha, and Amaran as being on the run in the 42 counts of the alleged fraudulent Malabu Oil transactions recently filed against the immediate-past Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN) and six others. Adoke and others had since pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail by the judge earlier on Thursday.
EFC filed the motion ex parte pursuant to Section 3, 35, 36 and 37 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Justice Kutigi in his ruling said that it was imperative to grant the arrest in the interest of justice.
The Commission in an eight-paragraph affidavit told the court that the order is needed to enable it arrest and extradite the defendants for prosecution. It submitted that the charges against the three suspects involve over $1.09 billion Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) Settlement Agreement, adding that there is prima facie evidence against them. According to the commission, Etete, Seidougha, Amaran (all at large) sometime in 2013, in Abuja, dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani, which they then knew to be forged documents, to open a bank account No. 2018288005 to receive $401,540,000.00 .
The commission also alleged that Seidougha, Amaran and (Dauzia Loya) Etete, sometime in 2013, in Abuja, “dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani, which they then knew to be forged, documents to open a Bank Account No. 3610042472 to receive $400,540,000.00 (Four Hundred Thousand United States dollars).”
The counsel of the EFCC, Bala Sanga, who moved the ex parte motion, disclosed that the suspects are currently residing in France and in some Africa countries.
Sanga further told the court that the suspects were occasionally sighted in different parts of Europe. He therefore prayed the court to issue a warrant of arrest, which is a pre-condition for the extradition of the suspects. In the affidavit in support of the ex parte application deposed to by Ibrahim Ahmed, an Investigating Officer with the EFCC, Etete and the others are wanted because they are part of the brains behind Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
The document reads: “That I know as a fact and I verily believe that the investigation of the Malabu Oil and Gas Limited matter disclosed a prima facie commission of offence by the respondents among others. That I know as a fact which I verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following: “The respondents (mentioned in counts 14, 15, 16, 17 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, and 42 of Charge No: CR/151/2020 and indicated to be at large) are still at large and intelligence report indicates that they reside in France and occasionally in some other countries.