$801 Million Fraud: Nigeria Government Sue Shell, Mohammed Adoke and 8 Others Over Oil Bloc

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At the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, holden at Abuja with the suit number CR/124/17 between the Federal Government of Nigeria, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has filed two fresh separate charges against the former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke, former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete and oil companies, Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited, Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited, ENI SPA and three Italians (all refers to as defendants) with fraud in three counts charges of aiding, abetting, conspiracy and engaging in fraudulent practices involving $801 Million; in the handling of the OPL 245 and their directors were also charged separately over the grant of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245.

Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, which is regarded as one of the biggest oil blocs in Africa and OPL 245 is located in deep offshore waters in the Gulf of Guinea estimated to hold at least 9 billion barrels of crude reserves.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) leading counsel Mr. Johnson Ojogbane Esq.,   instituted their charges at the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Division and Federal High Court, Abuja Division, Abuja respectively.

According to the three-count charge which was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), the charge sheet states that the defendants committed an offence contrary to section 26 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under section 12 of the same Act; states as follows:

Section 26: Attempt, conspiracy punishable as offences

  • Any person who –
  • Attempts to commit any offence under this Act;
  • does any act preparatory to or in furtherance of the commission of any offence under this Act or
  • abets or is engaged in a criminal conspiracy to commits any offence under this Act.
  • commits any offence under this Act; shall be quilty of an offence and shall, conviction be liable to the punishment provided for such offence.
  • Prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be initiated by the Attorney-General of the Federation, or any person or authority to whom he shall delegate his authority, in any superior court of record so designated by the Chief Judge of a State or the Chief Judge of the federal Capital Territory, Abuja under section 60 (3) of this Act or any or any other law prohibiting bribery, corruption, fraud or any other related offence shall be deemed to be initiated by the Attorney- General of the Federation.

Section 12: Fraudulent acquisition of property;

any person who, being employed in the public service, knowingly acquires or holds, directly or indirectly, otherwise than as a member of a registered joint stock company consisting of more than twenty (20) persons, a private interest in any contract, agreement or investment emanating from a connected with the department or office in which he is employed or which is made on account of the public service, is guilty of an offence, and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for seven years.

The Federal Government of Nigeria had earlier initiated nine-count criminal charge against former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke and eight others over the same oil bloc scam, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The defendants in the initial charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, were Dan Etete and Chairman of A. A. Oil, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar who is an oil business mogul. Six firms- Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Development Company Ltd, Group Construction Ltd and MegaTech Engineering Ltd, were also joined as defendants in the matter of receiving part of the money.

In the first charge, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) accused the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Dan Etete and 11 others in three counts charges of aiding, abetting, conspiracy and engaging in fraudulent practices involving $801 Million

In the second case at an Abuja Federal High Court, Adoke and Abubakar were alleged to have on September 16, 2013 conspired to commit money laundering when they directly took possession of the sum of $2, 267, 400 and converted it to the Naira equivalent being the sum of N345.2 million using one Usman Bello, a bureau de change (BDC) operator.

The offences are contrary to Section 18, 16 (1) & (2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.  The case has been assigned to Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Section 16: Conspiracy, aiding, etc; A person who –

  • Conspires with, aids, abets, or counsels any other persons to commit an offence; or
  • attempts to commit or is an accessory to an act or offence; or
  • incites, procures or induces any other person by any means whatsoever to commit an offence, under this Act, is guilty of the offence and liable on conviction to the same punishment as is prescribed for that offence under this Act.

Section 15(3): A person found guilty of an offence under this section may also be banned permanently or for a period of five years from exercising the profession which provided the opportunity for the offence to be committed.

From the charge sheet, one count states “That you, Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited, Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited, ENI SPA, Ralph Wetzels (whilst being Director of SNEPCO), Casula Roberto (whilst being a director in Agip), Burrafato Sebastino (while being a director with Agip) sometime in 2011, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, corruptly gave the aggregate sum of $801,000,000 to Dan Etete, Mohammed Bello, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited on account of the grant of Oil Prospecting Licence in respect of OPL 245 and thereby committed an offence.”

The offences, according to the charge sheet, are contrary to Section 9 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under Section 9(b) of the same Act.

Section 9: Offence of giving or accepting gratification through agent

  • Any person who corruptly –
  • gives, confers or procures any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or to, on or for any other person; or
  • promises or offers to give, confers, procures or attempt to procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or any other person on account of any such act, omission, favour or disfavor to be done or shown by the public officers is guilty of an offence of official corruption and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for seven (7) years.

Case adjourned till further date.

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