Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned former Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke to stop mentioning his name in the Malabu Oil deal.
According to Premium Times, Obasanjo described the award of OPL 245 oil field licence as the “height of corruption,” which he could not have endorsed.
He was quoted to have said: “Adoke and others should not drag me into a matter I know nothing about. 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.
”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.
“I can’t remember giving approval that the block be given back to Etete. “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 will be willing to apologise to Nigerians. But we have to get to the bottom of it all.”
The out-of-court settlement on the controversial $1.09billion Malabu Oil Block was initiated in 2006 during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, it was learnt yesterday. But the former president has told former Attorney-General and Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke to stop linking him with the deal.
The details are contained in a December 2, 2006 letter to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited (For the kind attention of Chief Dan Etete) by a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Edmund Daukoru.
The ex-minister, who is now a monarch in Bayelsa State, could not be reached for comments last night. Although Daukoru acted on behalf of the Obasanjo administration, there is no evidence that the ex-President signed the documents.
Some ex-ministers and past Group Managing Directors and officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are unwilling to talk about the deal. The letter conveyed the government’s approval of an out-of-court settlement with Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
The letter said: “We refer to the above subject matter and are delighted to convey to you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, having concluded a review of your legal claims, for the return of Oil Block 245(OPL 245) has graciously approved and directed as follows:
“That the Federal Government of Nigeria is amendable (sic) to an out-of-court settlement of the claims comprised in the legal proceedings commenced by Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd and consequently has agreed to settle your legal claims for the return of the oil block constituted as OPL 245 shall from the date hereof and with immediate effect, be returned to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd with full and total reinstatement of all its rights thereto.
“Any and all previous decisions inconsistent with or purporting to deprive Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd of its rights over the totality of the concessions in the said OPL245 shall stand absolutely and totally rescinded as if they had never been made.
“Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd shall immediately upon the receipt of this letter forthwith withdraw, discontinue every legal proceeding concerning OPL 245 initiated and or being maintained by Malabu against the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of the Oil Block OPL 245.
“Malabu Oil and Gas Limited shall be required to and shall pay a new Signature Bonus of USD 210million but the payment of $210million shall be less the sum of $2million previously paid into the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria in respect of an alternative oil block.
“The fiscal terms of the 2005 PSC shall apply to this restoration. Malabu to source its own technical partners and meet the conditions of the award within 90 days of this award.
“As part of the settlement process, the Federal Government of Nigeria is resolved to and has decided to award Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited (Shell) a present concessionaire an alternative oil block with comparable potential and hydrocarbon prospectivity.
This information was by a letter dated 1st of December 2006 conveyed to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited.
”Malabu Oil and Gas Limited shall be at liberty immediately to exercise all rights incidental to and consequent upon the return of the oil block (OPL 245) to it and shall be free to assign, pledge or deal in any way with its restored rights over OPL 245 in whole or in part to any 3rd Party subject as always to the operative laws of Nigeria, including but not limited to obtaining all approvals permit and appropriate consents necessary.
“Be advised further that the meeting scheduled to be held among concerned parties hereto and advised to Shell by letter referenced HMSPR/TA/007 and dated 1st Dec. 06 shall hold shortly and the deliberations thereafter may be availed you.”
Earlier, a Settlement Agreement signed by the ex-Minister (for the Federal Government) and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited officials, in the presence of Anthony G. Ikoli (SAN) was reached on November 30th, 2006.
The agreement said: “It is hereby agreed as follows: In the spirit of amicable settlement and without any admission of liability for any alleged wrongful, unlawful, unjust or any like conduct, the FGN agrees to re-allocate the oil block known as and covered by Oil Prospecting Licence 245 (herein called OPL 245) to Malabu within 30 days of this Agreement.
“The Signature Bonus in respect of OPL 245 shall be the sum of US$210million payable by Malabu to the FGN.
In this regard, the FGN acknowledges that Malabu had hitherto paid the sum of $2,040,000 to the FGN in respect of this Oil Block which sum shall be deducted from the aforesaid Signature Bonus, leaving a balance of US$207, 960,000 to be paid by Malabu to the FGN within 12 months from the date of reinstatement of OPL 245 to Malabu.
“The parties agree that Malabu shall, if it so desires, be at liberty to assign OPL 245 or any part thereof in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Act.
“Pursuant to this Agreement and in consideration of the foregoing, Malabu hereby forever and absolutely discharges and releases the FGN, its officers, agents, agencies and privies howsoever described or any person acting for and or on its behalf from all claims or demands which Malabu has or may have, and from all actions, proceedings, obligations, liabilities, losses and damages brought, made, incurred, sustained or suffered by Malabu now or in the future relating to, arising from or howsoever connected with the withdrawal or revocation by the FGBN from Malabu of OPL 245.
“Immediately upon the execution of this Agreement, Malabu shall withdraw, discontinue and terminate its Appeal No. CA/A/99/M/06 now pending against the FGN and its Agencies at the Court of Appeal, Abuja. Malabu shall cause the requisite evidence of this withdrawal/ discontinuance to the solicitors to be delivered to the FGN within 72 hours of the same being withdrawn or discontinued.”
One of those believed to have been involved in the deal, a former minister, said last night: “Please, I have no comment at all, leave me out of it.”
Another ex-minister said: “These people should do their investigation very well. Those indicted should respond to the allegations against them. I have nothing to say.”
A top official of NNPC said: “This oil block is a complex matter with international dimensions. I have nothing to say.”