A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Jabi, on Wednesday, ordered the arrest of Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum, and Mohammed Adoke, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, for their alleged involvement in the Malabu Oil scandal.
Also affected by the order were Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, and Burrato Sebastiano.
The court presided by Justice Danlami Z. Senchi gave the order following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a warrant of arrest against the aforementioned persons.
They were meant to be arraigned before Justice Senchi on Wednesday in connection with the Malabu oil scandal but were absent in court.
The commission, through its lawyer, Aliyu Yusuf, informed the judge that it had not been able to apprehend the suspects since 2016 and 2017 when it filed two sets of charges against them before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to the EFCC, the charges bordered on fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and money laundering involving the sum of about $1.2 billion, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
The alleged $1.2 billion scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
The three companies are defendants in the charges pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The EFCC has since 2017 pressed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Eni Spa, Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastiano, Duazia Louya Etete (aka Dan Etete), Mohammed Bello Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
All the defendants declared wanted had repeatedly failed to appear before the court.
At Wednesday’s proceeding, Justice Senchi granted the prayers of the EFCC and ordered the Nigeria Police, the INTERPOL, and any other law enforcement agency to arrest them anywhere they were found, including outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.
The matter was adjourned to July 11, 2019 for further hearing.
According to reports on Wednesday, Adoke was said to have vowed that he would challenge the order in court because he had already been cleared of any wrong doing by another court.
“The honourable judge was misled by the EFCC to grant the warrant.
“Justice Binta Nyako ruled in April 2018 that I was only carrying out a presidential order in the OPL 245/Malabu transaction, and that I had no case to answer.
“That naturally ends the EFCC case against me, but the agency has chosen this path and I will use all legal means to exonerate myself,” he was quoted as saying.