Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, docked with Malabu for money laundering

By Wandoo Sombo/ Abuja

Malabu Oil and Gas awarded the rich oil field OPL 245 by General Sani Abacha, is registered as a consultancy firm.

A prosecution witness, Mr Temitope Erinomo, made this known at the Federal High Court, Abuja, at the resumed trial of the company, businessman Aliyu Abubakar and and six others for money laundering.

Abubakar and the other defendants are standing trial on 67 counts of money laundering involving about $800 million instituted by the EFCC

Erinwow said Malabu and its six accomplices violated money laundering laws.

Other defendants in the suit are A-Group Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, Imperial Union Limited and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.

Erinomo, is the Principal Compliance Officer at the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investments.

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The witness, who was led in evidence by Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga added that the other companies allegedly linked to Abubakar, were registered to carry out construction activities.

According to the witness, considering the status of the six firms as construction and consultancy firms, they are designated by the Ministry of Trade and Investments as Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFI).

He said that such firms were designated as DNFI in 2013 because of their high tendency of being used for money laundering.

The witness further explained that the DNFI firms were mandated by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act to, among others, be registered with the ministry.

He also said they were to submit statutory reports of their activities and declare qualified transactions to the ministry and the EFCC.

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The witness also said that the firms were also required by law to put in place anti-money laundering measures, set up an internal audit to measure the effectiveness of the measures, and appoint a compliance officer from the members of the management staff.

“We found out that these companies have not made any declaration to the ministry in compliance with the Act.

“We also found out that they do not submit their statutory reports to the ministry and the EFCC and have not made the declaration of their activities to the ministry.

“They do not have record of measures they have taken to combat money laundering.

“They do not have internal audit unit to measure the effectiveness of the measures they have taken to combat money laundering.

“They also do not carry out training for their staff on anti-money laundering measures and we have uncovered several transactions which were not reported to EFCC,” he said.

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While being cross-examined by Mr J.A Achimugu, the witness said that he did not visit Malabu’s office or invite its staff, before arriving at his findings, because he was not mandated to do so.

The witness also tendered reports of his findings which were admitted in evidence.

The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter until Oct.27 for continuation of cross-examination.