Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has been arrested and is being held in Dubai by Interpol, Huhuonline.com has learnt. It was gathered that Adoke was arrested shortly after arriving in Dubai on November 11; where he had travelled there for medical evaluation after a court warrant for his arrest was vacated in October. It was not particularly clear from where he flew into Dubai, but different sources said he went through China and Rwanda.
Justice D. Z. Zenchi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court had in April issued a warrant for Adoke’s arrest following an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He has been on self-exile since 2015, accusing the EFCC of trying to humiliate him and maintaining that he did no wrong in the OPL 245 affair.
He has consistently been denying links to alleged fraud and has been on self-exile since vacating office in May 2015. He has repeatedly cited a judgment by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja that said he could not be prosecuted for actions he took while in office based on presidential directives.
The former AGF recently published his memoirs, ‘Burden of Service: Reminiscences of Nigeria’s Former Attorney-General,’ detailing his role in the OPL 245/Malabu Oil deal as well as other events that happened in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, which he served as AGF from 2010 to 2015.
On October 25, Justice Zenchi vacated the arrest warrant based on prayers from Adoke’s lawyers who argued that the order was wrongfully procured. The judge also asked the EFCC, which seeks to prosecute Adoke, to serve him the court papers by substituted means. In her ruling that day, the judge, after hearing the submissions of all the counsel, and upon perusal of all the affidavits in support of their motions, made the following orders:
“The arrest warrant issued for the arrest of the 4th-9th defendants in charge No FCT/HC/CR/124/2017 and to be executed by the police and the Interpol is declared null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“Accordingly, the order of 17th April 2019 issuing a bench warrant on the 4th-9th defendants is hereby set aside and vacated. It is further ordered that the case be adjourned sine die until the prosecution takes the required procedural steps to effect service on the defendants herein.”
It appears the Nigerian authorities failed to update Interpol overseas of the development on the case. It was gathered that Interpol officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were shocked when Adoke told them the warrant for his arrest had since been vacated and that there was no basis to hold him.
Sources said Interpol authorities in the UAE have now requested the Nigerian authorities to officially update them on the matter. The Ministry of Justice in Abuja has been working on transmitting the order to Interpol in Dubai to secure Adoke’s release, but the process was being delayed because the incumbent AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), was not available.
Nigeria recently signed a mutual legal assistance treaty with the UAE that would, among others, ensure Nigerians accused of corruption and fraud, can be arrested in the UAE and deported to Nigeria to face prosecution. Such persons could also have their assets in that country seized.