A former Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, on Wednesday debunked a statement credited to his successor, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, that he and former Petroleum and Finance ministers, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and Mr. Olusegun Aganga, illegally paid money from the controversial Malabu oil deal into an escrow account.

He stated that neither himself nor the other former ministers were responsible for the payment of the $1.092billion into the escrow account, wondering how he could be held responsible for a transaction that was completed on December 23, 2003, when he was appointed AGF in April 2010.

The current Justice minister had while testifying before the House Committee investigating alleged corruption, malpractice and breach of due process in the award of Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL, 245, reportedly said, “there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that the former Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, his Petroleum and Finance Ministry counterparts, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and Mr. Olusegun Aganga, were fraudulently involved in the $1.092 billion controversial Malabu oil deal”.
The report added that Malami however acknowledged that the payment of the money into an escrow account by the former ministers, instead of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, was illegal.
But reacting in a letter addressed to the Chairman and members of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee, Adoke pointed out that there are records to show that the escrow account under reference was opened pursuant to an Escrow Agreement dated 22 December 2003 between the Federal Government of Nigeria and JP Morgan Chase.
He added that official records also indicate that the payment of part of the Signature bonus (US$ 209 Million) by Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, SNUD, into an Escrow Account was approved by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the justification provided for the use of the Escrow Agreement mechanism was the pending proceedings over the revocation of OPL 245 by Malabu, the previous Concessionaire of OPL 245.
The letter forwarded to THEWILL reads in part, “I however wish to quickly correct the impression created by above quoted statement credited to the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN to the effect that I and my colleague Ministers of Petroleum and Finance were responsible for the payment of the Signature bonus in respect of OPL 245 into an escrow account.
“I wish to state categorically that there is no truth in that assertion. Official records show that the escrow account under reference was opened pursuant to an Escrow Agreement dated 22 December 2003 between the Federal Government of Nigeria and JP Morgan Chase. Records also indicate that the payment of part of the Signature bonus (US$ 209 Million) by SNUD into an Escrow Account was approved by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, and the justification provided for the use of the Escrow Agreement mechanism was the pending proceedings over the revocation of OPL 245 by Malabu, the previous Concessionaire of OPL 245.
“It would be recalled that I assumed office as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on 6th April 2010 by which time the transaction in question (payment of Signature bonus into an escrow account) had been fully consummated by 23 December 2003. I cannot therefore fathom how I could be held responsible for a transaction that pre-dates me in office.
“I align myself with the sentiments expressed by the Hon. Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara at the Committee’s Opening Session that ” OPL 245 has had a long history and had been the subject of many investigations, hence the need to put a finality to the matter.” I cannot agree more because some of us have been unduly vilified and our hard earned reputations dragged to the mud by deliberate misinformation carefully orchestrated and choreographed to bring us to public odium and opprobrium.”
SOURCE
THE CAVEAT
0 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

©2018 TheLearnedFriends

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account