Breaking News

Malabu Oil Deal: FG Drops Charge against ex-minister, Others after Their ‘No-Case Submissions’

The federal government has said it would not be challenging the no-case submissions made by a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke and five others in their alleged complicity in the Malabu Oil and Gas deal...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

In its response to the no-case submissions dated December 2023, by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Offem Uket, the prosecution agreed that the testimonies of its 10 witnesses called in the case as well as evidence led were not strong enough to pin the six defendants to the allegations of criminal offences preferred against them.

EFCC, however, told the court that a prima facie case was successfully made against the 3rd defendant and as such, should be ordered to enter his defence in 35 count criminal charge.

The federal government had in 2020 arraigned Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie, Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd., Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd., Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Ltd., and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited over alleged complicity in the sale of Operating Mining Licence (OPL 45), otherwise known as Malabu Oil.

The defendants were jointly charged with varying sets of offences and arraigned on a forty (40) count further amended charge dated February 1, 2023 and filed on February 3, 2023.

They however, pleaded not guilty to all the charge when read against them, following which trial commenced and the prosecution called in 10 witnesses before closing its case.

Rather than opening their defence, the defendants argued that the prosecution failed to establish credible evidence linking them to the said charge and urged the court to dismiss and acquit them of any allegations of wrong doing.

Responding to the defendants claim that having regard to the evidence adduced and exhibits tendered at the trial and all the facts and circumstances of this case, the prosecution has not made out a prima facie case against the defendants to warrant them being called upon to enter their respective defences.

Uket informed the court that, “Having evaluated the evidence adduced by the ten prosecution witnesses including the exhibits tendered during the trial, the prosecution has no desire to arguing against the no case submission made by the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th defendants with regard to counts 1.2.3, 4 and 5.
“The decision is anchored on paucity of evidence available to sustain any of the ingredients required to establish each of the offences preferred against the six defendants.”

To that end, he added that, it was needless to analyse the evidence adduced vis-avis the ingredients of the offences charged in counts 1-5 respectively.

“Nevertheless, the prosecution shall contend against the no case submission made by the 3rd defendant in regard to counts 6 – 40, as overwhelming evidence abounds to warrant this Honourable Court to call upon the 3rd defendant to enter his defence on all the 35 counts against him,” he said.

The prosecution claimed that evidence before the court proved that the 3rd defendant actually conspired with one Seidougha Munamuna and Dauzia Loya Etete, both of who had been at large to commit criminal breach of trust and forgery contrary to Section 97(1) and punishable under Sections 312 and 364 of the Penal Code, Cap 532 laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

“The 3rd defendant knew that there were only two directors in MOGL from 6/3/2000 when PECOS Energy Ltd became a shareholder in MOGL and Otunba Oyewole Fasawe was appointed a director to represent its interest in the board of the company up to 2011.

“Nevertheless, the 3rd defendant and Seidougha Munamuna prepared and signed the two resolutions dated 12/8/2011 and 15/8/2011 and used same as genuine to open the two accounts in First Bank Ltd and Keystone Bank Pic without the concurrence of Otunba Oyewole Fasawe.

“My lords, what is required of the prosecution in a no case submission is, to show simply that a prima facie case has been established at the close of its case requiring some explanation upon which the Court could proceed with the trial, and that the evidence has disclosed an allegation which if uncontradicted and believed will be sufficient to prove the case and not whether the evidence led against the defendant is sufficient to justify conviction.

“We, therefore, urge your lordship to hold that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the 3rd defendant for using forged documents as genuine.”

About the author

Bunady

JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

Leave a Comment