A former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bello Adoke, allegedly exchanged more than $2.2 million in a bureau de change in Abuja as part of his share in the controversial $1.1 billion Malabu Oil deal, court documents show.
The revelations were contained in a five-count fresh money laundering charges slammed on Mr. Adoke at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court Thursday.
Also charged alongside Mr. Adoke is controversial businessman Aliyu Abubakar, who is believed to have acted as middleman in the deal.
The EFCC said in the court filings that Mr. Adoke took delivery of exactly $2,267,400 on September 16, 2013, and immediately enlisted the service of money changers to have it converted to the local currency.
Based on the prevailing exchange rate at the time, Mr. Adoke made N345,200,000 after successfully converting the funds. He subsequently deposited all the money in a Unity Bank account to offset an outstanding overdraft of N300 million, court documents showed.
The EFCC also filed charges against Mr. Adoke for carrying out a transaction of such magnitude without going through the country’s financial institutions.
All the offences contradicted Section 15(2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended in 2012) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act, prosecutors said.
Mr. Adoke was instrumental to Nigerian government’s involvement in the suspicious Malabu Oil deal, which saw Shell and Agip-Eni paying money into an escrow account of the Nigerian government to settle a firm with a questionable history.
He authorised the transfer of the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni into private accounts of Dan Etete, Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, who further transferred a large percentage to Mr. Abubakar. Mr. Abubakar is believed to have been a front for officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration including Mr. Adoke.
Shell, Agip-Eni, Mr. Adoke and Mr. Etete, who also approved the lease award of the OPL 245, have all denied wrongdoings.
But Italian prosecutors said late last year they had enough grounds to charge Shell, Agip-Eni, and their executives alongside other Nigerians involved in the controversial deal for fraud in Milan.
In separate charges filed late 2016, the EFCC accused Mr. Adoke and Mr. Etete of defrauding Nigeria in the OPL 245 deal.
The Department of Petroleum Resources said last December that Mr. Adoke and other officials of the Jonathan administration who participated in the concession of the lucrative oil field to Shell and Agip-Eni did not follow due process.
Mr. Adoke, who is currently in the Netherlands for study, has denied any wrongdoing and pledged to make himself available for trial.