Bello Adoke, Attorney General of the Federation during the Goodluck Jonathan regime, has been caught on tape offering Carlamaria Rumor, a female journalist with RAI Television in Italy, a slice of the Malabu deal while also admitting he knew from start that the deal was a scam.
Rumor had sought an interview with Mr. Adoke in a bid to get information on the OPL 245 deal and possibly the whereabouts of Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum and arrowhead of the Malabu scam, but Adoke was more interested in a relationship with the journalist than the information she sought.
“Would you want some of the money that was recovered?" he asked. “Would you want some part of the money recovered to be remitted to you? This should be a personal consideration."
He then added, after some exchange with the journalist: “If you want the money, if you are not being . . . are you married?”
“No, I'm not married," the journalist said.
Adoke replied: “Okay, can you call me when you are at home? So because right now there are monitoring cameras . . . Can you call me in your privacy, so that we can talk?”
The sale of OPL 245 oil block to Malabu oil and gas and the subsequent retrieval of the oil block to the Federal Government has gone on to be dubbed one of the greatest global frauds of the oil industry, having led to investigations in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, United States and United Kingdom, plus the trial of executives in major global oil companies.
Mr. Adoke had denied knowledge of the deal, stating instead that he merely carried out orders as issued by former president, Jonathan.
Speaking through his lawyer, Kanu Agagi, before Justice Binta Ayako at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the ex-AGF said: “We operate a presidential system where all executive powers are vested on one man. It is dictatorial under the constitution and all powers are exercised by him. These dictatorial powers enable him to take decisive actions. He takes action for his minister and if it fails he takes the blame. We are in peril because of our obedience. We ask your lordship to resolve the matter in our favour.”
Consequently, Justice Ayako stopped the prosecution of Mr. Adoke on the grounds that he merely carried out the instructions of President Jonathan.
In her ruling, Justice Ayako said: “I have carefully studied the provisions of sections 5(1), 147 148 and 150 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). A community reading of sections 5(1), 147(1), 148(1) and 150 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) leaves you in no doubt that the executive powers of the federation, as vested in the President, are exercisable by him directly or through a minister of the federation.”
She then upheld Mr. Adoke’s position that his conduct during the OPL 245 deal was within the confines of the lawful directives given by the former President, hence he is protected by law.
However, the recorded interview between Mr. Adoke and the Italian journalist, obtained by SaharaReporters, revealed that Mr. Adoke knew about the shadiness of the OPL 245 deal, describing it as “illegal” and a “presidential scam”.
“I was aware of the illegal fund diversion that was made,” he admitted.
He also indicted a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, saying the former minister collaborated with “Malabu oil workers, some Italian oil workers” to “divert some of funds to a foreign account”.
Mr. Adoke said: “You need to understand that some oil, Malabu oil workers, some Italian oil workers collaborated with Etete and some people here to divert some of funds to a foreign account. The money went to Etete, not only Etete, not only Etete, the money went both to Etete, some Italian oil companies, also involving the agreement and in the betrayal, uhm . . . some . . . also some other officials here in Nigeria, not only to Etete.”
The interview was conducted by Romor in November of 2015, and has gone to form part of the evidence filed by prosecution in trial of Shell, Eni and former executive, due to open in Milan on Monday, May 14, 2018.
Adoke: …this is not what we can be able to talk on phone. The money in question is Malabu Oil Block where, you see, the Presidential scam on the . . . when you are able to come here, I think more details will be given to you, because there was a collaboration between some people here, with some Italians, with Italian mafia, with Italian people, with Italian oil workers.
Adoke: The funds was (sic) transferred into a foreign . . . was diverted into a foreign account
Carla: We just wanted . . . to confirm that the Malabu was at the table together with the Government, just this. And you confirm this?
Adoke: Yes, I confirm that. I confirm that. I confirm that
Carla: In understand
Adoke: Yes, I confirm that and I am also aware of the illegal fund diversion. I was aware of the illegal fund diversion that was made.
Carla: So, basically, I don't understand also why the money went to Etete
Adoke: Okay, the money that was signed into agreement, why it went to Etete?
Adoke: Oh I had already confirmed to you that that was an illegal buy right.
Carla: The money weren't (sic) supposed to go to Etete but . . .
Adoke: Yes, that's what I confirmed to you, the money was not supposed to go to Etete, the money was diverted to a foreign account and that was a collaboration with some Italian oil workers, and because of that Etete was charged before the Federal High Court, but he was later discharged, I already confirmed this to you.
Adoke: The Malabu oil contract, with the Federal Government of Nigeria, it was not 800, apart from the 800, 800 is a little sum of money, around 2billions.
Adoke: ... you need to understand that some oil, Malabu oil workers, some Italian oil workers collaborated with Etete and some people here to divert some of funds to a foreign account... Some people that signed the agreement, some personnel, they collaborated, they joined hands together to betray the agreement that was signed. I told you that the agreement signed was betrayed, some . . . some money, some funds . . . the fund that was diverted . . . so the funds, some funds were diverted . . . The money went to Etete, not only Etete, not only Etete, the money went both to Etete, some Italian oil companies, also involving the agreement and in the betrayal, uhm . . . some . . .also some other officials here in Nigeria, not only to Etete."
Carla: I was just wondering if you think that there are money (sic) that went back to Italy to someone in Italy, out of this agreement.
Adoke: Yes, that I already explained to you, about the betrayal, the betrayal of the agreement. Italian oil workers was (sic) involved in that betrayal, I told you this. I told you Etete, in collaboration with Italian oil workers, betrayed the agreement.
DO YOU WANT SOME OF THE RECOVERED MONEY?
Adoke: Would you want some of the money that was recovered? Would you want some part of the money recovered to be remitted to you? This should be a personal consideration.
Carla: Are you asking me if I want the money?
Carla: But what money?
Adoke: The millions that was (sic) recovered.
Carla: But me?... Do you think that I'm asking you part of the money?
Adoke: No, I am asking you if you will want that.
Carla: Excuse me, let's say that I wanted, how can I . . . how can I collect the money? I'm not calling you for the money, I'm calling you for the information?
Adoke: Yes, if you want the money, if you are not being . . . are you married?
Carla: No, I'm not married
Adoke: Okay, can you call me when you are at home? So because right now there are monitoring cameras . . . Can you call me in your privacy, so that we can talk?
Carla: Mr Bello, I'm calling from the office, because, you know, I'm doing my job and that's my I'm calling from the office, but I don't understand what kind of question you are asking me about that money.
Adoke: But I am asking you: would you be interested in benefitting from the millions that was (sic) recovered, that is personally, I'm not talking about your job. I'm asking you.
Carla: No, no, I'm not interested in that, Mr Bello, no.
Adoke: ...many people have been charged already before the Federal High Court, the case[s] have been treated before the court, most of them have been discharged and acquitted, some of the funds have been returned back again, so I think it is a bit of a betrayal talking about that again, that was the reason I asked you if you were interested in the millions, let me know personally, from your personal email, from your personal phone number, you let me know if you are interested in the recovered millions, because this is a case that has been ... has come up in the court, most of them paid their duty and some of the funds have been recovered while some have been diverted, so it's already a closed case here . . . So, talking about it again, I think it is a betrayal, but if you're interested in the millions, you let me know personally, from your personal email, from your personal phone number, you let me know, okay?
Adoke: When you come officially, I can be able to give you much more attention, because, as of now, I know it is for the best interest, my interest not to release the details of my country, of any agreement until I am able to see you, know where you are coming from, know you, if I can be able to release any official detail in the documents' file by Dan Etete and the oil companies.
Adoke: . . . everything is in the document here and the document is the only evidence to prove all this. So when you come, I can be able to . . . everything is documented, it is filed, is approved and it is documented. When you come, I will be able to release the informations (sic ) to you.