Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has exonerated himself from the Malabu oil deal scandal and insisted that “we have to get to the bottom of it all.”
Obasanjo also issued a stern warning to former Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Mohammed Adoke to stop dragging him into the scandal but rather he should explain his role in the scandal.
The ex-President who spoke from Addis Ababa described the deal as “the height of corruption”, adding that he could not have participated in any negotiations that led to it.It would be recalled that Adoke had written a petition to the current AGF, Abubakar Malami, alleging that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been persecuting and victimizing him over the Malabu deal.
In the petition, Adoke mentioned Obasanjo’s name, as well as former President Goodluck Jonathan and others as living witnesses who can give detailed accounts of how the oil deal was struck.
“I believe it is your responsibility to explain to the public who are being sold a fiction that the transaction started from President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR under whose administration the Terms of Settlement were brokered with Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, as the then Attorney General who executed the Terms of Settlement before the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR who approved the final implementation of the Terms of Settlement and my humble self who executed the resolution agreements,”Adoke wrote.
However, ex-President Obasanjo said Adoke should quit mentioning his name in the matter and concentrate on giving a detailed account of his actions.
“Adoke and others should not drag me into a matter I know nothing about,” Obasanjo said.
“If they have been asked to answer questions over decisions they took while in office, they should do that honourably.
“They should not bring Obasanjo into an Etete deal. I was not part of any such deal.”
The former President said he believes it is irresponsible for a public servant to “appropriate to himself or herself what he or she is in charge of.”
“If I hold that view, I could not have approved a deal with Dan Etete.
“What Etete did is the height of corruption. He appropriated the asset to himself illegally, illegitimately and immorally,” Obasanjo said.
Online newspaper Premium Times reports that the Obasanjo administration indeed approved the re-award of OPL 245 block to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd., but when he was reminded of this fact, the former president said he could not recall assenting to such a deal.
“I can’t remember giving approval that the block be given back to Etete,”he said.
“We gave it back to Malabu? On what ground? Do you have any such evidence?
“Ask Bayo Ojo and Edmund Daukoru what really happened because the stand I took at the time was unassailable.
“If Daukoru has evidence that I approved that the block be given back to Malabu or Etete, let him produce it.
“If it is proven that I indeed approved the deal, I would be willing to apologise to Nigerians. But we have to get to the bottom of it all,” the former president said.
The EFCC had initiated a law suit against Adoke claiming that he exchanged more than $2.2 million at a bureau de change in Abuja as part of his share of the controversial $1.1 billion Malabu Oil deal.
According to the charge, Adoke collected the sum of $2,267,400 on September 16, 2013, and immediately got money changers to convert it to Naira.
Following the exchange rate at the time, Adoke made N345.2 million after converting the funds. He subsequently deposited the money into a Unity Bank account to offset an outstanding overdraft of N300 million, court documents showed.
Adoke, however, denied the allegations, saying that the EFCC knew the facts of the case but was deliberately muddling them up to confuse“gullible” Nigerians and malign him.