EXCLUSIVE: Fresh Trouble As Nigerian Government Tells UK Court How Etete, Adoke Fraudulently Influenced Payment Of $1billion In OPL 245 Deal

Dan Etete and Mohammed Adoke

Court documents exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters showed the Nigerian Government indicted Etete and Adoke of receiving cash back through a third-party in the OPL245 deal.

The Nigerian Government has briefed a court in London, United Kingdom, on the role a former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, and former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, in fraudulently receiving millions of dollars in the fraud-ridden OPL245 deal.

The government stated this in its submission to the High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Admiralty and Commercial Court in a suit it instituted against JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Court documents exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters showed the Nigerian Government indicted Etete and Adoke of receiving cash back through a third-party in the OPL245 deal.

In the court document, the Nigerian Government claimed that Etete awarded the OPL245 contract to himself for a payment in the order of $2million while also noting that Adoke tricked the government to re-enter a deal for individual gain.

The government also said, “In 2011, on the advice of Adoke, Nigeria entered into the resolution agreements including the Block 245 Malabu Agreement, by which the government promised to pay Malabu slightly in excess of $1billion in respect of its alleged rights to OPL 245, which rights were then granted to the oil majors Shell and ENI.

“In August 2011, the Nigerian Justice Minister, General Mohammed Adoke, and the Nigerian Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, allegedly at the behest of President Goodluck Jonathan, coordinated two payments from Federal Republic of Nigeria (‘FRN’) government accounts totalling approximately $800m to Malabu.

“Once the payments had been made by JPM in 2011 and 2013, the money was laundered through shell companies and Nigerian bureau de change, and Ojo and Adoke subsequently each received very substantial sums and real estate, derived from the payments, whilst Etete received hundreds of millions.”

The Nigerian Government noted that an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission into Malabu’s dealing showed that Malabu and additional shell companies (and subsidiaries of those companies) received some funds sent from the FRN accounts.

“It was reported that several of the above-cited shells and subsidiaries were merely fronts for several Nigerian politicians who ultimately received proceeds of the corruption scheme,” the government added.

The Nigerian Government also indicted JP Morgan of abetting Etete and Adoke to siphon the funds while fully aware of the scandal rocking the OPL245 deal.

In the court briefing, the government claimed that JP Morgan refused to abide a freezing order and an instruction asking it not to pay $75m in 2013 to Malabu.

“JPM was then served with freezing injunctions obtained (i) in London by a company, Energy Venture Partners (“EVP”), owned by a Nigerian, Mr Obi, and (ii) in New York by International Legal Consulting Limited (“ILCL”), a company owned by a Russian, Mr Agaev. EVP had commenced proceedings in the English courts, claiming that it was entitled to a substantial success fee (c.$200m) from Malabu for helping to conclude the sale of OPL 245. ILCL, similarly, had commenced arbitration proceedings against JPM seeking payment of a $65m commission from Malabu. At the same time, JPM received further instructions that it refused to obey (because they were from unauthorised signatories) to pay a lesser sum not to petrol service, but now to Malabu – and this time into a Lebanese bank account.

“Instead, when JPM received further instructions to make payment to Malabu, now split into tranches (a further, well-recognised red flag for fraud) and sent to accounts which Malabu had opened at two different banks in Nigeria, JPM decided to execute those instructions without referring the matter back to court.

“At least $250m of the 2011 payments had flowed to Etete, and hundreds of millions of dollars had flowed to companies owned and/or controlled by Abubakar Aliyu (known in Nigeria as “Mr Corruption”, and publicly found to be corrupt by the English Court).

“The bank was therefore clearly on notice that there was a risk that if it made the 2013 payment, the further $75m would also be laundered and passed back to Nigerian politicians, just as the 2011 payments had been.

“Despite these glaring, well-recognised red flags for fraud and corruption, and despite the fact that the 2011 Payments were suspected to have flowed from JPM via Malabu into the accounts of cronies with connections to Nigerian politicians, JPM made a further payment of almost $75m to Malabu on 29 August 2013. This was a flagrant breach of its duties to the FRN.”

The government claimed that JP Morgan threw its hands up and asked what more it could have done, and suggests that it had no alternative other than to pay in 2011 while noting that there were a number of alternatives open to JP Morgan.

It further noted that JPM could have refused to give effect to payment instructions to make payment to opaque entities like Petrol Service and Malabu but could have paid into a federal government account within the Nigerian Central bank.

“If the money had been paid into that account, it could not have been easily stolen by Adoke (or other fraudsters within the FGN): because it was part of the federation account of the FRN, which was subject to administrative and legislative oversight,” the Nigerian Government said.

The government is praying the court to award it damages in the sum of $875m as the money the government has lost as a result of JP Morgan’s action.

“For all of the above reasons, the FRN’s claims should be allowed. By the payments, JPM paid away $875,740,000.03 of the FRN’s money to fraudsters (comprising $801,540,000 paid away in 2011 and $74,200,000.03 paid away in 2013).

“That is the sum of money that the FRN has lost as a result of JPM’s grossly negligent breach of its quincecare duty and is the sum the FRN is entitled to, and claims, in damages, together with interest accruing from the date of each payment, at the rates set out in Schedule 4 to the POC,” the Nigerian Government prayed.

Source: Sahara Reporters.