The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) and its global partners have asked President Muhammadu Buhari, in line with his anti-corruption fight, to continue with the prosecution of all corrupt officials associated with the Malabu oil scandal deal.
Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of HEDA, in a statement issued on Sunday commended the Nigerian Government for the fresh legal case instituted in a United Kingdom court noting that it shows “a clear admission that local officials were hands-deep in fraudulent deals running into billions of dollars.”
“We are pleased with the new filings by the Federal Government in the UK court. Contrary to this latest acceptance, the Attorney General of the Federation had written to the president, demanding EFCC’s discontinuation of the trial of the people and companies involved claiming there is no sufficient evidence to prosecute the case.
“We reject the AGF for his flip-flop and insufficient support or even disbelieve in the anti-corruption efforts of the agencies,” Mr Suraju added.
HEDA said though it is pleased that the AGF has now agreed with the EFCC that there are criminal elements in the case and that it is disadvantageous to the interest of Nigeria, but that the AGF needs to go further and back up with practical actions.
Mr Suraju said the Malabu scandal was a huge opportunity for the Nigerian government to show to the international community that it is truly committed to its fight against corruption by ensuring all involved in the scandal are convicted.
“We cannot talk of development without being serious about the fight against corruption. We cannot talk of foreign investment in an environment riddled with corruption.
“We can never command global respect when the international community see us as crooks and dishonest people. The Malabu trial is a golden opportunity for Nigeria to prove to the world that the country is ready to do business with dignity and honour,” Suraju said.
HEDA, together with its partners, presented a report in November 2018 revealing some of the government officials involved in the Malabu deal.
In the report, several Nigerian officials including former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu and many oil subsidiary companies were named in the scandal, which has been the subject of litigation in Milan, Italy.
Other top Nigerians listed are Emeka Obi of EVP, son of former Nigerian Senator and defendant. He was convicted in the Italian criminal proceedings to have provided a link between Etete and Eni. The following were also named Mohammed Bello Adoke, Attorney General of the Federation, (2010 to April 29, 2015), Diezeni Alison Madueke, Minister of Petroleum, April 6 2010, to May 28, 2015, and Umar Bature, a former House of Representative member.