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Malabu scandal: Be firm against corrupt officials, HEDA tells FG

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and its global partners has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to stand firm in pursuing criminal conduct associated with the Malabu oil scandal.

HEDA has been working with international anti-corruption groups, Global Witness, Cornerhouse and Re:Common, to expose fraud associated with the Malabu oil deal.

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Also the Federal Government had last week told a London court in the case filed in December 2018 against Shell and Eni over the controversial Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245) accused ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke of accepting bribes to broker the OPL 245 deal.

Jonathan had dismissed the accusation in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, saying he has no hand in any fraud associated with the OPL 245.

Daily Trust reports that HEDA and its partners had commissioned a report which indicated that Nigeria would lose close to $7bn as a result of the OPL245 fraud. The report was presented three weeks ago in Abuja.

In a statement on Sunday, HEDA said the court filings by the Federal Government in the United Kingdom “is a clear admission that local officials were hands-deep in fraudulent deals running into billions of dollars”.

The chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the civil society was pleased with the action of the federal government and urged it to remain firm in pursuing the case.

“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 trial of the people and companies involved claiming there are no sufficient evidence to prosecute the case.

“We reject the AGF for his flip-flop and insufficient support or even disbelief in the anti-corruption efforts of the agencies”, Suraju said.

He however said it is pleasing 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.”

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