A private jet owned by former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Dan Etete, was purchased with illicit funds, global corruption trackers said on Tuesday.
The jet is said to be worth $56million as of the time it was purchased.
In the petition addressed to Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-corruption fighters said the jet was purchased with proceeds of corruption relating to the fraudulent sales of OPL 245.
Four international anti-corruption crusaders, Chairman, Human Resource Development Centre (HEDA), Olanrewaju Suraju; Corner House Director, Nick Hildyard; Re:Common Director, Antonio Tricarico and Co-founder Global witness, Simon Taylor signed the joint petition sent from Italy calling for the retrieval and forfeiture of the jet by the Nigerian authorities.
The four anti-corruption crusaders attended the court proceedings in Milan.
The petitioners said their position was strengthened by findings from the ongoing international corruption case taking place at the court.
The investigations focused on the sale of OPL245 to Eni and Shell. It also involveved the grievous allegations of corruption linked with several serving and former company managers, including Nigerian politicians.
Prosecutors in Milan were told by a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, Debra LaPrevotte, and Ten. Col. Alessandro Ferri, both involved in the investigations, that $56 million of proceeds of corruption was used by Dan Etete for the purchase of a private jet in Oklahoma City, USA.
The specific tail registration number of the aircraft was given as M-MYNA.
They state: “What we heard from testimony in the court confirmed the information enclosed in a table produced by the FBI, and already disclosed as a public document in the court case, Crown vs Malabu Oil and Gas, which was held at Southwark Crown Court in London, UK, namely that proceeds of the OPL 245 deal were used to purchase a Bombardier Global 6000 private jet with the registration number M-MYNA.
“This aircraft is listed as registered to Tibit Limited (BVI) and registered in the Isle of Man. The FBI table notes that the aircraft purchase was made from Insured Aircraft Title Services, Oklahoma City, US. We note that the company appeared in a 2010 investigation by the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee, Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations, regarding their role in the purchase of aircraft by PEPs.”
They added that the individuals connected to Tibit Ltd, a BVI company involved in selling several Bombardier 6000 jets, have been the subject of a court case with the Australian Tax Office” adding that the report related to the Panama Papers has also raised questions about the bombardier sales.”
It noted that the aircraft’s most recent flight, according to public aircraft tracking websites, was from Paris to Dubai airport on the 7th June 2017. The aircraft appears to have remained in Dubai since.
It said that there is therefore reason to believe that the jet is still in Dubai airport and could be frozen by competent authorities as possible proceeds of crime.
“We kindly urge you to verify this information and take appropriate steps, including asset freezing and forfeiture, where possible, under the 2018 Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between Nigeria and United Arab Emirate.”