The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned Malabu Oil and Gas Limited at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for money laundering over its alleged involvement in the controversial OPL 245 transactions.
The commission also arraigned a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, and six other firms on a 48-count charge of money laundering to the tune of $1 billion and N673 million respectively.
The firms were A-Group Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.
They pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to them.
The EFCC had earlier arraigned a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, and three other firms on the matter.
In one of the charges, the commission alleged that Malabu Oil and two of its directors said to be on the run – Seidougha Munamuna and a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dauzia Etete, who is widely known as Dan Etete – “directly or indirectly converted” the sum of $401,540,000 paid from the Federal Government Escrow Account with JP Morgan Chase Bank in London into the firm’s account with First Bank of Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC also alleged that the defendants converted the money “knowing that the funds formed part of unlawful activity.”
It argued that during negotiation and signing of oil block 245 Resolution Agreement with Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO) taxes due to the federal government was waived.
This, the prosecution, alleged constituted an offence contrary to section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
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