Posted by News Express | 18 August 2020 | 824 times
A legal fight in Canada’s courts was sparked by the seizure at Montreal airport of a jet suspected of belonging to former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete on trial for corruption in Italy, reports The Africa Report.com.
The legal battle is intensifying over the luxurious Bombardier Global 6000.
It was seized on May 29 on the tarmac of Montreal International Airport, as it was coming from Dubai for its 60-month inspection.
Jean-Charles Tchicaya, a lawyer from Bordeaux of Congolese origin — who has already ‘rescued’ several aircraft, notably for Equatorial Guinea during disputes with the Cameroonian businessman Yves-Michel Fotso and the operator Orange — decided to appeal on August 14 against the August 4 decision of a Canadian Superior Court judge to uphold the seizure of the private jet.
Hired by Tibit Ltd, the British Virgin Islands-registered company that owns the aircraft, Tchicaya now has the task of demonstrating that it is not the property of former Nigerian Oil Minister Dan Etete.
Etete is accused of being involved in one of the continent’s biggest corruption scandals: the award in 2011 of $1.3 billion of oil block OPL 245 to the major oil companies Shell and ENI.
For the Canadian judge: “Tibit was created to serve as a screen for Etete in its vari¬ous manoeuvres to launder colossal sums of money”, reports the judgment.
“I am very surprised that Canada seized the plane at the request of a gentleman who claims to be from Nigeria by videoconference, without having verified the warrant, with¬out having initiated any proceedings against Dan Etete on its territory. This plane has landed several times in Nigeria without the authorities seizing it or initiating criminal proceedings against it since 2013. No jurisdiction in the world was looking for this plane,” says Jean-Charles Tchicaya.
In addition to the procedures underway in Canada and the Virgin Islands, Jean- Charles Tchicaya has also initiated a request to the Nigerian authorities to authenticate the two warrants presented on May 15 and July 27 by Nigerian Babatunde Olabode Johnson, head of the Johnson and Johnson Solicitors cabinet, on behalf of Justice Minister Abubakar Malami and his Permanent Secretary Dayo Apata, to see whether they really emanated from the country’s authorities.
The lawyer representing the Republic of Nigeria, Babatunde Olabode Johnson, who did not respond to our inquiries, describes himself on Linkedin as an “asset recovery expert”.
There is no doubt about this for Barnaby Pace of the British NGO Global Witness: “Johnson and Johnson Solicitors has already represented Nigeria in various lawsuits relating to the OPL 245 scandal, including the recovery of $70 million from Malabu [a company that was the original owner of the rights to the oil field, of which Dan Etete owned shares] in the United Kingdom”.
A version that Jean- Charles Tchicaya questions, questioning his motivations and the validity of the documents. (Daily Independent)
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