A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Friday, gave approval to the anti-graft agency; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to detain former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke (SAN), for 14 days. The order was to enable the anti-graft agency conclude its investigation of Adoke over corruption allegations.
Adoke returned to the country Friday, after five years in self-exile, only to be arrested on arrival by the EFCC. The Commission had in 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others, including Adoke and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited. EFCC in the suit marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17, accused the defendants of fraudulent allocating the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
They were also accused of other forms of offences involving the sum of about $1.2 billion, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption. The alleged $1.2 billion scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
In order to prepare effectively for his prosecution, the Commission consequently approached the FCT court for an order to detain him pending the conclusion of investigation of corruption allegations. The ex-parte application was moved by counsel to the EFCC, Fatima Mustapha and was accordingly granted by Justice Othman Musa.
However, Adoke has continued to maintain that he was innocent of the accusation levied against him by the EFCC, adding that his travail was politically motivated. Before his arrival on his own accord, the former AGF was detained by the Interpol and the UAE authorities for over a month. His detention was as a result of an international bench warrant for his arrest which has already been set aside by Justice Danlami Zenchi of the FCT High Court.
But his extradition was faced with some huddles following failure of the federal government to communicate with Interpol and the authorities in Dubai, on the order setting aside the bench warrant for his arrest. While the bench warrant was issued on April 17, the order setting it aside was made on October 25 by the same judge. This resulted to a stalemate which was resolved by Adoke’s voluntary return to Nigeria.
According to his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the former AGF, following his lawyer’s advice, felt it would be better to return to Nigeria to resolve the issue once and for all than to remain in Dubai.
He was also reported to have bought his return ticket on board the Emirates airlines.
Meanwhile, Justice Zenchi has commenced hearing in Adoke’s motion seeking the removal of his name from the Malabu Oil scam trial. Adoke had in a motion, M/763/19, filed by his counsel, Chief Ozekhome, sought an order of the court striking out his name as a defendant in the case pending before the court.
His request was predicated on the grounds that he had secured a judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, against the Attorney-General of the Federation, representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria wherein he was completely exculpated with respect to the facts and circumstances relating to the Malabu Oil scam.
Ozekhome argued that having been exonerated in the Malabu Oil scandal by Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, the inclusion of Adoke’s name as a defendant in the criminal case was erroneous.
Ozekhome claimed among others that EFCC concealed the April 13, 2018 judgment by Justice Nyako in which the court held that Adoke could not be held liable for any infraction in the whole Malabu Oil saga for carrying out a presidential directive from the FCT High Court.