Ibrahim Ahmed, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has testified before the Milan Court, Italy, in the trial of Shell, Eni and officials of both companies for corruption and bribery associated with procurement of OPL 245 bloc by both companies in 2011 under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to the investigator, the involvement of Malabu in the allocation of the bloc in 1998 by Malabu, a company jointly owned under alleged false identities by both Dan Etete (Kweku Amafegha) and Mohammed Sanni Abacha, violated all extant laws guiding the process of allocation of oil blocs in Nigeria at the material time.
Before the appearance of Superintendent Ahmed, a former DSS Assistant Director, Victor Nwakwo, who retired from service last year, testified before the court. Though admitting to be one of the over 100 security officials of President Goodluck Jonathan from March 2010 till 2015, he denied knowledge of officials of the oil company or even, as an assistant Director in DSS serving in the Villa, ever coming in contact with a one time National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau, while he was in service.
Ahmed painted the graphic picture of shares manipulation of Malabu oil and gas company by Dan Etete, Otunba Fasawe and Mr. Volpi of Intel for which about $5million was paid by Volpi and Fasawe, to the exclusion of Mohammed Abacha, an original holder of 50 per cent shares of Malabu from inception.
Under cross-examination by lawyer to Dan Etete, one of the defendants in the trial, attempted to play a fast one on the witness and the court by presenting a newspaper report of a letter written in 2017 by Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Justice Minister, addressed to Buhari, calling for discontinuation of the prosecution of the suspects by the EFCC, under the guise of lack of sufficient evidence to secure conviction in the criminal matter involving the immediate predecessor of Malami, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) and accomplices. The prosecutor, Fabio Depasquale, objected to the use of the newspaper article or report of the letter. The Court President requested for a five-minute break for ruling on the objection.
At resumption of the court, the judge upheld the objection of the prosecutor and the evidence was rejected. The lawyer to Etete, obviously relying on the letter for his cross-examination, abruptly withdrew from further cross-examination after the court's ruling.
Without the timely objection of the prosecutor, Malami would have subjected the country to another round of international opprobrium, like what happened during the case instituted against the Nigerian government by Adoke. If the report had been admitted, the prosecutor had planned to embarass Malami by tendering in evidence President Buhari's reply where he had turned down the legal advice.