The Nigerian government has alleged conflict of interest against former Nigerian Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke while acting as the Chief Law Officer of the country.
In court proceedings in the UK, the Nigerian government had described the OPL 245 transaction as “corrupt” and “a conspiracy to hurt Nigeria by unlawful means, by depriving the government of monies for the grant of OPL245 to which it was lawfully and exclusively entitled.”
The government also sued JP Morgan Chase Bank for the recovery of $801 million transferred by the bank to Malabu Oil Company belonging to Dan Etete.
Current Attorney General, Abubakar Malami describing Adoke in his re-amended particulars of claims said, "Mohammed Bello Adoke, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of FRN between 2010 and 2015. By 2010, Adoke had personal connections with Etete, having served as Etete's lawyer".
According to Nigerian law, Code of Conduct for public office holders, this is a clear case of conflict of interest for Adoke to have failed to officially declare his personal interest and connection with Etete or previous interest in the deal.
“The Code of Conduct for public officers provides that a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
“It is yet to be seen if the Code of Conduct Bureau, the government agency responsible for protecting the country and constitution against the alleged offence against Adoke will take the necessary action,” a source said.
SaharaReporters gathered that Etete had during his days as the petroleum minister, awarded the prospecting rights to the huge OPL 245 block to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company he secretly controlled.
After the death of the then Head of State, Sani Abacha, he retained the rights to the oil block as a private citizen until he offloaded them to oil giants, Shell and Eni, who both paid $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government.
The transaction was authorised in 2011 by former President Goodluck Jonathan through some of his cabinet ministers, and the money was paid for OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks.
Although Shell and ENI initially claimed they did not know the money would end up with Etete and his cronies, evidence has shown that claim to be faux. Shell later admitted it did know the money would go to Etete.
The malignant tumour-like issue metastasized into Africa’s most controversial oil deals.
It has also indicted Adoke; Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison Diezani, Dan Etete, and so forth.
The entire OPL 245 deal has been the subject of a corruption trial in an Italian court, involving Etete, alleged middlemen and some top executives from Shell and Eni.
In Nigeria, the government also charged Etete and several others linked to the scandal with money laundering in connection with the onward flow of funds from the OPL 245 deal.
A luxury private jet which is owned by the country’s former Minister was in 2020 seized over his roles in the scandal.