20 July 2013, Abuja – The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke, has denied speculations that he made reference to any report of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
Adoke dismissed the report in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Ambrose Momoh, in Abuja.
The minister was reacting to an invitation by the House of Representatives to meet with the House Committee on Justice to explain his role over the ownership and right to operate Bloc 245.
Adoke said the claim that he was cleared by the alleged report on the transaction involving the Federal Government, Shell/Agip companies, and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd in that respect was mischievous.
“In view of the misrepresentations and obvious mischief in reporting the role of the Federal Government, its agencies and officials in the settlement of the dispute, it has become necessary to set the records straight.
“When the Attorney-General of the Federation appeared before the House of Representatives Committee, which investigated the transaction, he explained his role in facilitating the settlement and the committee members were satisfied with his explanations.
“The Attorney-General did not make reference to any report of the committee, as none had been made available to him.
“It is, therefore, clear that the alleged report and controversy it has generated is a calculated attempt to bring the office of the Attorney-General and relevant agencies of government to infamy,” the statement read in part.
The minister, according to the statement, said the outrage against his office was due to his refusal to compromise his office to satisfy the demands of certain interests and individuals.
He vowed to confront those behind the controversy at the appropriate time.
“The outrage against the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is understandable when viewed against his refusal to compromise his office in order to satisfy the demands of certain interests and individuals.
“We know those who have compromised their positions in order to author the alleged report and their theatrical display for public gallery.
“We also know those secretly beating the drums for masquerades dancing in the market square. We shall confront them at the appropriate time.
“How else can one explain why the ownership of shares in a private company would generate sufficient interest among members of the legislature so as to merit a resolution of a committee?
“Certain persons or companies are entitled to ownership of shares in a private company, when courts are the appropriate venue for the ventilation of such disputes between share holders (if any),” the statement emphasised.
It added that the Federal Government’s role with regard to the dispute was essentially that of a facilitator; to ensure resolution between Malabu and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited.
The minister said the resolution of the dispute was part of government’s commitment to attract investment in the oil and gas sector by creating conducive environment for their business to thrive.
Adoke said he was ready to be subjected to any transparent investigative process in order to unearth the truth.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned Adoke to explain the deal.
Adoke was summoned over a letter he allegedly wrote to a foreign organisation, Global Witness, stating that the House had cleared him of any wrongdoing in the controversial Malabu oil deal.
The House had some months ago raised the red flag on the disposal of the Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245, following allegations that there were breaches in the deal that saw the sale of the bloc by Malabu Oil and Gas Company to Shell and Agip.