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Malabu’s $1.1 b case too complex, Malami tells Reps

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Malabu’s $1.1 b case too complex, Malami tells Reps

Malabu’s $1.1 b case too complex, Malami tells Reps
October 14
07:13 2016

Investigation into the Malabu Oil deal is too complex, making it difficult to unravel the matter, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said yesterday.

Malami spoke at the resumed hearing of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the investigation of alleged corruption, malpractices and breach of due process in the award of an oil block, OPL 245.

According to Malami, multiple requests had been made internationally and locally without success.

He spoke of the Mutual Legal Assistance request to the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom.

He said even within Malabu Oil itself, there were divided and contending interests, making it difficult to ascertain which of the interests signed what agreement.

He said: “We have multiple contentions. There is Mohammed Abacha. We have Dan Etete, Atiku Abubakar, Hassan Adamu; they are all laying claims to entities.”

Though he presented a 16-page off-the-grid documents which he did not submit to the committee, the AGF said in the light of the constraints concerning the case, he had limited information because “investigation is ongoing” and “no conclusion is certain.”

“The field has not been covered. Investigation is ongoing nationally and internationally and what I say might alter the conclusion of the case,” Malami said.

He said he needed time to prepare a proper and fuller brief for the committee because “criminal investigations are still ongoing.

Malami added: “I took steps to write to the international agencies and government to consolidate on the available information. Only day before yesterday ( Tuesday), I forwarded response to the Mutual Legal request that has to do with Malabu in the U.S. We have to move with caution by allowing representations to be made.”

Abacha and Chief Oyewole Fasawe, who are shareholders in Malabu, were at the hearing but withdrew their submissions so as to present a more comprehensive and detailed presentation.

Abdullahi Haruna, Malabu’s lawyer who spoke for Abacha and Fasawe, said they had submitted documents to the 7th House on the same issue and wanted to know if they needed to start afresh.

Committee Chair Razak Atunwa said though the event was not a substantive hearing, it was nonetheless important, adding that the 8th House is starting the probe afresh.

“This is a highly controversial allocation of perhaps the biggest oil bloc in Africa

There is a lot at stake on this issue and the credibility and revenue for this country is at stake.

“However complex the situation may be, the law is able to deal with it. The House is also able to make enquiries and make recommendation on the matter.”

He said part of the purpose is to identify culpability of persons and organisations in relation to award of OPL 245 and to consider the actions to be taken locally and internationally.

Razak said the committee is also to unveil the “processes that led to the award of the OPL 245.”

He added: “The powers of the former minister to award the oil block in not unfettered. The House has the power to examine.”

The next hearing will hold on October 18.

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Mujeeb

Mujeeb

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