Lawmakers May Invite Jonathan Over Malabu Oil Deal

Former President Goodluck Jonathan
Former President Goodluck Jonathan

The House of Representatives is planning to invite former President Goodluck Jonathan to explain his role in the controversial Malabu oil deal.

Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Razak Atunwa, who is also the head of an ad-hoc panel that is probing the case, made this known to journalists in Abuja.

He said that efforts are already underway towards summoning the former president.

The controversial Malabu oil deal saw two giants, Shell and ENI, pay the sum of $1.3 billion for Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245, which is believed to be one of Africa’s richest oil block.

About $1.1 billion of the money was reportedly paid directly into a Nigerian government account with JP Morgan while about $200 million had been paid by Shell as signature bonus.

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But $801 million of the money reportedly ended up in the private account of the then Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete.

Foreign investigators believe that ex-president Jonathan and some other top officials that served under him including former Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Mohammed Adoke, and former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, received kickbacks running into millions of dollars from the deal.

Speaking with an online newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES, chairman of the House of reps ad-hoc investigative panel into the Malabu oil deal said: “I can confirm that the former president is now on our radar following new details that were uncovered in latest news reports about the Malabu scandal.

Recall that there were recent reports that Jonathan might have received up to $200 million in bribes from the Malabu deal.

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The report was based on Italian court documents obtained by BuzzFeed and Italian business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore.

Atunwa said: “We cannot ignore such weighty allegations knowing fully well that Nigeria has lost billions of dollars as a result of the numerous complications around the OPL 245 oil field.

“We’ve summoned several former and present top government functionaries, including the Attorney-General Abubakar Malami, to provide information that could help in our investigation and they honoured us.

“We’re still working out the details. Nigerians will know the time and modalities of our summon to the (former) president, including letter of invitation, very soon.”

According to the recent report on the Malabu oil deal, Italian prosecutors quoted a Russian middleman, Ednan Agaev, who helped to negotiate the transfer of the oil block to Shell and Eni, as saying that Etete had said he would have to give out as much as $400 million in bribes if the deal went through.

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“I said that if it’s true, that he paid, he had to pay 400 million, I assume that at least 200 went to Goodluck (Jonathan),” Agaev was quoted as saying.

“I heard from Chief (Etete), he claims that he had to pay 400 million, so, if this is true, if he paid 400 million, then most probably the President, as the biggest boss, took at least the half of it,” BuzzFeed wrote, quoting documents prepared by Italian prosecutors.