Following the arrest of former Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in Dubai by Interpol and his subsequent repatriation to Nigeria to face allegations of graft which centre around $1.9bn Malabu Oil deals, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly stepped up moves to extradite about 18 high-profile suspects. Among these suspects are said to be a former Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr Kingsley Kuku, a former managing director of Petroleum Products Marketing Company(PPMC), Mr Haruna Momoh, former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Dr Ngozi Olojeme, a former chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF) and Mr Kola Aluko, a business ally of Diezani and Jide Omokore whose firm’s assets( Atlantic Energy) were recently confiscated by AMCON over a N29bn unpaid debts.
The New Diplomat gathered that others on the 18-man high-profile watch-list include Chief Dan Etete( Dauzia Loya Etete) , who is a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Muna Seidougha, and Amaran Joseph who are wanted in connection with alleged infractions relating to Malabu Oil Block deals. While Olojeme who is believed to be on the run is being sought in connection with alleged diversion of a staggering N48.4bn is reportedly being sought to answer these allegations just as Kuku is being watch-listed over alleged fraudulent diversion of multi-billion naira Amnesty funds into private accounts.
In the case of Kuku, sources hinted that the chairman and CEO of Airpeace Allen Onyema who is also being investigated along with his cohorts on 27 count charges of bank fraud, credit application fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft, as well as alleged crooked wire deals amounting to about $44.9million, may have made some startling statements to investigating agencies as to how his NGOs may have been inappropriately engaged for business deals at the Presidential Amnesty Office during Kuku’s time as Coordinator.
On his part, Haruna Momoh is being accused of fleecing the PPMC and committing wide-ranging financial infractions with Crude Oil Swap deals while he held sway as MD of PPMC . Another suspect said to be on the radar of the EFCC is one Adam Quinn, a British national, over his alleged role in the controversial $9.6bn judgment against the federal government.
On his part, Kola Aluko has been on the run since the Buhari administration come into power in 2015. Recall that prosecutors in the United States had since 2017 provided details of how the trio of Diezani, Omokore and Aluko, allegedly lavished billions of naira on property and luxury items in the U.S. and UK. The troika who have been at the centre of many high-level investigations and court actions around the management of Nigeria’s oil industry during the preceding administration, have come under intense criticism, public censure and litigations. Omokore’s Atlantic Energy’s recent forfeiture of assets amounting to N29bn over unpaid hanging debts is an outcome of these investigations and litigations.
In 2016, the Buhari administration had filed a court action for world-wide seizure of multi-billion naira assets linked to both Aluko and Omokore, who were accused of sundry offences including conspiring to bribe Diezani by purchasing property worth millions of dollars in London for her and her family. EFCC sources hinted that the anti-graft agency’s current extradition moves is accentuated by the success it recorded with the case of Adoke, a former justice minister and Attorney-General of the Federation who was arrested in Dubai and subsequently repatriated to Nigeria to face trials over his alleged role in a graft case entailing about $1.3 billion oil deal in which both Eni and Shell were also accused of playing various roles.
Eni and Shell are accused of handing out bribes during the 2011 purchase of OPL245, an offshore oil block, for $1.3 billion. Both multi-national oil companies have consistently denied any wrongdoing in the case popularly known as “Malabu scandal. ” However, this has led to a slew of litigations in a number of countries that have led to convictions in Italy and a probe against Shell in the Netherlands. The New Diplomat gathered that the EFCC has intensified its collaboration with Interpol, the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom, the UK’s National Crimes Agency and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations(FBI) in its bid to track down these 18 high-profile suspects said to be currently residing in various international jurisdictions including the US, UK and the UAE.
Said an insider at the anti-graft agency; “ We are working very hard to get hold of these men. With the success recorded over the former Attorney General’s matter in Dubai, it is certain that we would track many of them and bring them back to face trial. Nigeria is a signatory to international protocols on extradition. For example, Nigeria signed about six agreements with the UAE in 2016 and these includes Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters”. Recall that President Buhari had recently urged the international community to assist in Nigeria’s efforts to extradite accused persons to Nigeria to face allegations leveled against them.