Nigeria Tightens Anti-Corruption Noose

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Abuja — The noose is quickly tightening against Nigeria's former untouchables as President Muhammadu Buhari's war on corruption gathers pace.

Former Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke was on Thursday last week nabbed by Interpol in Dubai and deported back to Nigeria while 25 entities were ordered to forfeit their properties to the state for fraud and tax defaults.

Mr Adoke, former petroleum Minister Dan Etete and Aliyu Abubakar are wanted to answer questions surrounding a $1.06 billion oil blocks scandal. Malabu Oil and Gas was also charged at the Abuja High Court over the Malabu Oil Block.

They allegedly received the money from Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and ENI SPA in relation to the grant of Malabu Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245).

Part of the money $2.3 million was paid to a foreign exchange bureau and quickly converted into local currency on the instruction of Adoke.

Adoke is also charged over the $9.6 billion judgment award against Nigeria by Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) in London.

The forfeiture order secured by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) affects 25 properties whose owners, including the Shehu Yar'Adua Foundation, failed to pay taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The companies owe more than 8.6 billion Naira ($24 million) in taxes and denied ownership of the properties.

Three ex-governors have already been jailed for corruption and 22 others are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and ICPC.

The ex-governors currently in jail for corruption are Mr Orji Kalu of Abia State, Mr Joshua Dariye of Plateau State, and Mr Jolly Nyame of Taraba State.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said a central database for recovered stolen assets had been created in the Ministry of Justice.

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