- The Nigerian government's seizure of a private jet belonging to former minister Dan Etete has been okayed by a court in Canada
- Judge Martin Castonguay ruled that the plane, which landed in Montreal on May 29, must remain there
- The jet was believed to have been purchased with proceeds from the controversial $1.3 billion Malabu OPL245 oil deal
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A judge in Canada has reportedly approved the seizure and grounding of a luxury private jet purchased by a former Nigerian petroleum minister, Dan Etete.
The jet was alleged to have been purchased with proceeds of the controversial $1.3 billion Malabu OPL245 oil deal.
According to Premium Times, Judge Martin Castonguay ruled that the plane, which landed in Montreal on May 29, must remain there.
He also agreed with the claims put forward by the attorney to the Federal Republic of Nigeria over the seizure and grounding of the plane.
An attorney for the Nigerian government, Olabode Johnson, had said an order was served on the jet’s owner, a company called Tibit Ltd, which was expected to file court papers opposing the seizure.
The company which is believed to be fronting for the former minister argued for the overturn of the seizure and grounding of the jet.
However, in its ruling on Tuesday, August 4, the court agreed with the argument of the Nigerian government.
“The Tribunal considers that the links established in the affidavits of Johnson’s are sufficient to establish prima facie that Tibit was created to serve as a front for Etete in his various maneuvers to launder colossal amounts of money, obtained, according to Nigeria, through his embezzlement while he was the trustee of oil assets belonging not to the Nigerien political class, but to the Nigerian people,” the court ruled.
Subsequently, the judge rejected the company's application for an injunction to set aside the seizure before judgment.
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Earlier, Legit.ng reported that the federal government tracked down and grounded the private jet purchased by Etete.
The former petroleum minister was indicted in the controversial $1.3 billion Malabu OPL245 oil deal.
Asset recovery lawyers acting for the Nigerian government swooped last week after the Bombardier 6000 jet, tail number M-MYNA, touched down at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport in Canada on Friday, May 29.
A judge in Canada is understood to have granted a seizure order for the aircraft.
As petroleum minister under late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha, Etete was said to have awarded the prospecting rights to the huge OPL 245 block to a company he secretly controlled, Malabu Oil and Gas.
After Abacha’s death in 1998, Etete was said to have retained the rights as a private citizen until he offloaded them to oil giants Shell and Eni in 2011, who paid a combined $1.3 billion to the federal government.
The entire Malabu OPL245 deal is now subject to a corruption trial in Italy.
The former minister has since dismissed the allegations as “political propaganda.”
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