A British Judge publicly questioned former President Jonathan’s intergrity on Tuesday.

This call came as he was passing judgment in relation to a $1.1billion Fraud case whereby the Jonathan administration controversially approved the transfer of $1.092 billion from Nigeria’s JP Morgan account in London to Nigerian accounts controlled by Malabu.

In refusing to release the $85 million (N17 billion) to Malabu, a fraudulent company controlled by Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, Dan Etete. Justice Edis of the Southwark Crown Court declared that he was not sure the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan acted in Nigeria’s interest when it approved the transfer of the money to Malabu.

“I cannot simply assume that the FGN which was in power in 2011 and subsequently until 2015 rigorously defended the public interest of the people of Nigeria in all respects,” the judge ruled.

According to a report by Premium Times, the money was paid by global oil giants, Shell and ENi, for Africa’s richest oil bloc, OPL 245.

The former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and the former Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, signed the documents approving the transfer to Malabu.

The fraudulent deal, shaded in various layers of corruption, has been condemned by Nigerians and international transparency advocates and is being investigated by authorities in four different countries.
The $85 million was seized at the request of Italian prosecutors who are also investigating the deal. The money was the last part of the OPL 245 largesse not yet distributed.
Sensing that the Muhammadu Buhari administration was yet to find its feet on international legal matters, Mr. Etete approached the British court and asked that the money be returned to him.

At a two-day hearing that started on November 23, Mr. Etete’s lawyers argued that there was no fraud in the deal and asked that the money be released to him.

While Mr. Etete argued that the money be released to him, the Italian prosecutor argued that “their investigation could lead to a potential forfeiture of the money down the road.” a source who has followed the case and was present at the proceedings told PREMIUM TIMES.

Malabu’s lawyers told the court that freezing the money was an assault on Nigeria and questioned how the court could imagine that Messrs. Adoke and Ngama would be a party to a corrupt deal.
While giving his ruling on Tuesday, Justice Edis said while he could not say for certain if the deal was fraudulent pending conclusions of investigations, it would be inappropriate to release the money to Malabu.

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