[dropcap]A[/dropcap] motion put forward by a national assembly adhoc committee to invitee former leader Goodluck Jonathan over the $120 billion Malabu scam sparked wild debate among Members of political parties across the aisle.
“The Ad-hoc Committee on OPL 245 met to consider the progress of the Committee’s work and the next steps to be taken, it said in a statement obtained by Per Second News.
“The Committee noted that it had conducted extensive investigation into the OPL 245 saga and that it is drawing to a close.
“However, the Committee is of the view that in the interest of thoroughness, natural justice and fair play, it imperative that evidence should be taken from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In arriving at this decision, the Committee took account of the following facts:
“Mr. Jonathan was the President at the material time the ministers brokered the deal that lead to the allegation of $1bn funds diversion.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation at the material time, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has recently instituted proceedings in court wherein he pleaded that all his actions were as instructed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan was accused of receiving bribe to approve the controversial $1.3 billion oil transaction involving ENI and Royal Dutch Shell during his tenure.
But Jonathan has denied that he received any compensation to approve the deal.
Italian prosecutors named the former president and Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who served under his administration as Minister of Petroleum Resources, among those who allegedly received kickbacks in the controversial oil block deal.
According to court papers filed by Italian prosecutors recently, the Chief Executive of ENI, Claudio Descalzi, and his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni, met Jonathan “in person” to thrash out the deal, which also involved former British intelligence agents working as advisors for Shell.
The prosecutors alleged that Jonathan and Diezani benefitted from a sum of $466m converted into naira and used to grease the palms of some Nigerian government officials to facilitate the alleged shady deal.
The prosecutors alleged that another $54m was withdrawn by one Abubakar Aliyu, whom the prosecutors described as an “agent” of Jonathan.
The beneficiaries of the money went on a shopping spree buying “property, aeroplanes, armoured cars,” prosecutors stated in the court papers.
The prosecutors claimed that after talks in Milan and Abuja, the oil block was bought illegally by the oil majors in contravention of domestic laws, “without competitive tendering” and with “full, unconditional exemption from all national taxes.”
To facilitate the alleged shady deal, a total of $801.5m was allegedly transferred to Etete’s Malabu accounts, out of which $466m was converted into naira and used for greasing the palms of government officials, including Jonathan and Diezani.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had also recently pressed charges in connection with the same oil block deal.