The former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan was linked to $1.1 million Malabu deal. The evidence presented to Southwark Crown Court, UK, indicates that he was code-named “Fortunato” by Italian accomplices in the controversial deal.

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Justice Edis of Southwark Crown Court examined the evidence provided by Italian authorities where “Fortunato”, meaning “the lucky one” in Italian, was implicated in the deal. Edis said, based on the evidence presented before it, that no one but Jonathan was referred to by this code-name.

“The suggestion from the wiretaps is that “Fortunato” was implicated and I am told that this was a reference in code (not subtle) to the former President of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan,” the judge said.

By this revelation, “Fortunato”, is added to the long list of names Nigerians call the former president.

Yesterday, December 14, Justice Edis refused to release $85 million (N17 billion) to Malabu, a fraudulent company controlled by Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, Dan Etete.

According to the British judge, the Southwark Crown Court had failed to follow proper procedures in securing the freezing. Justice Edis said 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.

“That investigation is not complete (and appears to be still at quite an early stage). Precisely because I cannot reach firm factual conclusions, 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 said.

Earlier, 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.

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 money was paid by global oil giants, Shell and ENi, for Africa’s richest oil bloc, OPL 245.

Antonio Tricarico of Re:Common said: “$85 million paid by Eni and Shell for the benefit of Dan Etete’s company Malabu remains frozen in London. The time has come that Eni and Shell come clean about what they knew about this deal and who else this money was intended for.”

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.

Details on Premium Times.