By Andy Chukwu
A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Gwagwalada has issued a warrant of arrest against Dan Etete, former Minister of Petroleum, over his alleged involvement in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.
Justice Abubakar Kutigi gave the order on Thursday following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Kutigi also issued an arrest warrant against two others — Munamuna Seidougha and Amaran Joseph — for their alleged involvement in the deal.
The EFCC named Etete, Seidougha, and Amaran in the 42-count charge it filed against Mohammed Adoke, former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and six others.
The EFCC accused them of fraudulently allocating oil processing licence (OPL) 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited — a company Etete had interest in. The oil block was later reallocated to Agip, a subsidiary of Eni and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company in a controversial deal.
Bala Sanga, Counsel to the EFCC, told the court that the application is to enable the anti-graft agency to arrest the accused persons who have been on the run.
“The kernel of the ex-parte application is that names of the respondents in the criminal charge CR/151/2020 were mentioned in count 14-42 of the charge and where indicated to be at large,” he said.
“Intelligence suggests they reside in France and occasionally in some African countries. And to be able to get the support of the international police, the warrant of arrest would be needed.”
The judge said: “I have carefully gone through the application. The application has merit and it is granted as prayed.”
Etete was petroleum minister from 1995 to 1998.