A witness on Thursday told the Federal High Court in Abuja how Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and six other companies charged with fraud in the oil prospecting lease 245 transactions, allegedly violated the nation’s money-laundering laws.
At the resumed trial, Mr. Temitope Erinomo who is the principal compliance officer at the Special Control Unit against money laundering in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investments insisted that the defendants contravened the nation’s money-laundering laws.
Mr. Erinomo appeared in court as the first prosecution witness in the case of 67 counts of money laundering involving about $800m instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Malabu oil, the six other companies, and a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar.
Also listed as defendants, aside from Malabu Oil Deal and Mr. Abubakar, 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.
The EFCC prosecuting counsel, Mr. Erinomo explained that Malabu Oil was registered as a consultancy firm while the rest of the companies listed in the charge sheet were registered to carry out construction activities.
The witness added that considering the status of the seven firms as construction and consultancy firms, they were designated by the Ministry of Trade and Investments as designated non-financial institutions and that such firms were mandated by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act to, among others, be registered with the ministry, submit statutory reports of their activities, and declare qualified transactions to the ministry and the EFCC.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, after taking the testimony of the witness, deferred his cross-examination by other defence lawyers to October 27, 2020.