The Federal High Court in the Abuja Judicial Division has issued subpoenas to the offices of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Head of Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit, Office of the Inspector General of Police, to give evidence as requested by the Chairman of Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), Olanrewaju Suraju regarding the lingering OPL 245 saga.
This followed the OPL 245 saga between Suraju and a former Minister of Justice/ Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who was accused of corruption in the case among others.
Others in the copy of the subpoenas are Mr. Simon Loyd, formerly, Executive Director, J. P. Morgan, EMEA AML and Sanctions Compliance, London, who is currently the Senior Vice President/Head of FCC Central Oversight, PMO & Regulatory Deliverables at Danske Bank; the Minister of Justice/ Attorney general of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Adoke himself; Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court in Milan- Italy and Osolake Bayo, Global Head of Financial Institutions Trade Product Sales Specialist at J.P Morgan, London.
In suit no FHC/ABJ/CR/370/2021 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Complainant) and Olanrewaju Suraju (Defendant), the Nigerian government will be expected to present its case and evidence to prosecute the charges against the defendants, having withdrawn 2 of the 4 preferred charges at the last sitting of the court when the case resumes on May 10, 2022.
The court in its Subpoena Duces Tecum Et Ad Testificandum (A court summons ordering the recipient to appear before the court and produce documents or other tangible evidence for use at a hearing or trial) ordered the Public Prosecutor’s office at the court of Milan, Italy, to bring the official copy of the European investigation order sent to the UK Authorities in respect of the Malabu Oil Matter and the UK authorities response to the European investigation order.
The EFCC is expected to come with the official copy of the investigation report of alleged forgery and impersonation resulting in cyber criminality, financial crime and economic sabotage against Nigeria as it relates to the email sent by Adoke on 21 June 2011 to JP Morgan Chase bank using the email address [email protected]
Also, Mr. Osolake Bayo is meant to come along with the e-mail dated June 21, 2011, from his email address <[email protected]> with the Subject: FW: BLOCK 245 Malabu Resolution Agreement which he sent to Adewuyi Tosin [email protected] together with the document attached to the mail.
While Loyd was asked to bring the official copy of the email dated June 24, 2011, which he sent to Lyall, Ian; White, Daniel UK; and Speers Camel with the title: “FGN SUMMARY OF FACTS” as well as documents shared and any other relevant document with respect to the subject.
Recall that in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/370/21, Suraju was charged with cyberstalking for allegedly circulating the fake audio of a phone interview said to have been planted to implicate Mohammed Bello Adoke, in the OPL 245 saga.
Howbeit, the Nigerian government has submitted before the London court in its civil case against JP Morgan it is withdrawing the forgery trial of the anti-corruption activist- Suraju, claiming the action was erroneously filed by both the police and some officials of the Ministry of Justice, ignorant of its implications for the London lawsuit against J.P Morgan Chase Bank in a UK court.
Nigeria is seeking the award against the bank for allegedly failing in its duty when it transferred $810 million to Malabu Oil & Gas Limited from the sale of OPL 245 to Shell and Eni in 2011.
In the same submission, the Nigerian government reaffirmed Adoke as the author of the allegedly forged email and also the interviewee in the audiotape allegedly referred to as fake in the charges against Suraju.
The government argued that the bank ought to have known that it was “a corrupt and fraudulent scheme” and should have withheld the payment.
JP Morgan denied the liability claims, maintaining that the government has not yet proved allegations of corruption in any court of law over 10 years when the payments were made.
The government specifically accused Adoke, the attorney-general when the OPL 245 resolutions were reached in 2011, of corruption, and subsequently filed charges in 3 different courts against him and other co-defendants.
However, the charges around forgery of email against Suraju were dropped after Nigeria’s lawyers pointed out to the attorney-general that it could jeopardise the case against J.P Morgan since the government was relying on the same email.
Suraju was eventually arraigned over the charges around the allegedly stage-managed interview alone, but the lawyers have now informed the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court that the case against the activist will be halted.
The Malabu scandal involved the transfer of about $1.1 billion by Shell and ENI through the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete.
From accounts controlled by Etete, about half the money ($520 million) went to accounts of companies controlled by Aliyu Abubakar, popularly known in Nigeria as the owner of AA oil.
Anti-corruption investigators and activists suspect he fronted for top officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration as well as officials of Shell and ENI.
The transaction was authorised in 2011 by ex-president Jonathan through some of his cabinet ministers and the money was payment for OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks.
The oil resources of the OPL 245 licence have remained undeveloped since the controversies began.
One of those being prosecuted by the Nigerian government is Adoke.
He is facing trial over the alleged role he played in the “fraudulent” transfer of ownership of an oil bloc, OPL 245, regarded as one of the biggest in Africa.
Other defendants include Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie and four companies- Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.