The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday rearrested Nigerian businessman, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar. 

SaharaReporters learnt the arrest of Abubakar, Chairman of AA Oil, comes after the middleman for many of the government officials in the Malabu case appeared in court in continuation of the trial Abubakar and former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke for corruption and money laundering in the Malabu oil deal. 

At the time of filing this report, it was not known why the arrest was effected by the EFCC. 

However, a source in the anti-graft agency confirmed his arrest to SaharaReporters and further informed he was “released on Thursday night”. 

The source did not disclose the subject of his interrogation and arrest.

Abubakar is the first prosecution witness in the money laundering charges the EFCC preferred against Adoke.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Adoke had sometime in August 2013 in Abuja accepted a cash payment of the dollar equivalent of N300 million from Aliyu and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended).

The prosecution maintained that the former AGF made cash payments that exceeded the approved threshold amounts, outside a financial institution.

Abubakar was also wanted in Italy for trial for allegedly being the conduit of a $500 million bribe by ENI and Shell. 

An Italian judge had ordered Abubakar to stand trial for alleged international corruption relating to an oil case involving Eni and Shell. 

Milan prosecutors alleged that Abubakar handed out more than $500 million in cash to powerful Nigerian government officials.

The money allegedly came out of the $1.3 billion licence fee paid by Eni and Shell for access to the OPL-245 offshore oilfield located in the southern Niger Delta.

Abubakar had denied any wrongdoing in the case saying he did not distribute any bribes to anyone. 

An Italian court in March 2021 cleared global oil giants, Eni and Shell, over allegations of corruption in Nigeria.

The long-running case centred around the $1.3 billion purchase of an offshore oil block in 2011.

Prosecutors had alleged that the majority of the money was paid as Bribes to Nigerian politicians and officials.

But the court in Milan said the two firms, and 13 defendants, including past and current executives, had no case to answer.

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Source: Malabu Oil Scandal: Nigerian Businessman, Abubakar Aliyu Re-arrested, Quizzed By Anti-graft Agency, EFCC

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