Adoke protests against con­tin­ued de­ten­tion in Dubai

De­mands re­moval of name from Mal­abu oil scam trial

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - From Olu­dare Richards, Abuja

AFORMER At­tor­ney-gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion (AGF) and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Mo­hammed Bello Adoke (SAN) has de­cried what he de­scribed as “his con­tin­ued il­le­gal de­ten­tion” by the INTERPOL in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates (UAE).

Adoke, through his coun­sel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), yes­ter­day told the High Court of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT), Abuja that he was still be­ing held in Dubai de­spite the or­der made by the court on Oc­to­ber 25 va­cat­ing its ear­lier ar­rest war­rant is­sued against him.

Ozekhome lodged the com­plaint at the re­sumed hear­ing of a fresh suit in­sti­tuted by Adoke against the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) on Novem­ber 6 pray­ing the court to strike out his name from ear­lier charges filed against him, Shell Pro­duc­tion Lim­ited and nine oth­ers by the anti­graft agency.

The for­mer min­is­ter was ar­rested on Novem­ber 11 in Dubai and there have been me­dia reports of a move by the Nige­rian au­thor­i­ties for his ex­tra­di­tion to Nige­ria to face charges on the al­leged Mal­abu oil scan­dal.

Specif­i­cally, the anti-cor­rup­tion com­mis­sion had in 2017 filed charges against Adoke and the oth­ers in a case bor­der­ing on al­leged fraud­u­lent al­lo­ca­tion of the Oil Prospect­ing Li­cence (OPL) 245 and other of­fences, in­clud­ing a $1.2 bil­lion fraud, 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.

A sit­ting of the court presided over by Jus­tice Dan­ladi Senchi at the FCT High Court, Jabi Dis­trict, had on April 17 is­sued a bench war­rant for the ar­rest of Adoke and other de­fen­dants in the case. The judge, how­ever, va­cated the ar­rest war­rant on Oc­to­ber 25, fol­low­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion made by Ozekhome be­fore the court to that ef­fect.

At yes­ter­day’s hear­ing, Ozekhome in­formed the court that the for­mer AGF had filed an ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing the re­moval of his name from the charge sheet.

Ac­cord­ing to the se­nior ad­vo­cate, the ap­pli­ca­tion was filed on Novem­ber 5 but was served on the pros­e­cu­tion by the court bailiff on Novem­ber 27. He stated that the pros­e­cu­tion coun­sel, Of­fem Uket, told him (Ozekhome) that he (Uket) was away when the ap­pli­ca­tion was served on the pros­e­cu­tion and as such could not re­spond to it ap­pro­pri­ately.

He then dis­closed that both par­ties had agreed that the mat­ter be ad­journed till Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 4 to en­able the pros­e­cu­tion to re­spond to Adoke’s ap­pli­ca­tion.

This was con­firmed by Uket, who promised that by Tues­day (to­day), he would have re­sponded, filed and served a re­sponse to the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Ozekhome fur­ther in­formed the court that de­spite its Oc­to­ber 25 or­der set­ting aside the ar­rest war­rant is­sued on Adoke, the for­mer AGF was still be­ing held in Dubai.

The se­nior ad­vo­cate in­formed the court that Adoke protested against his ar­rest by the Interpol, which he said was against Chap­ter 3 of the Interpol Ar­ti­cle since the said war­rant had been va­cated by the court that ini­tially is­sued it. He added that all de­cent steps to en­sure that the for­mer AGF was re­leased, in­clud­ing writ­ing the EFCC, Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), UAE au­thor­i­ties and the Interpol, had been taken but did not yield any re­sult.

Lament­ing the sit­u­a­tion, Ozekhome said “it is the duty of the AGF to en­sure that the rights of ev­ery Nige­rian cit­i­zen are pro­tected.”

Jus­tice Senchi ad­journed the case till to­day to hear the ap­pli­ca­ the ap­pli­ca­tion, Adoke is pray­ing for an or­der of the court “strik­ing out the name of Bello Mo­hammed Adoke (SAN), as a de­fen­dant in charge num­ber FCT/HC/CR/124/17 be­tween the Fed­eral Repub­lic of Nige­ria and Shell Nige­ria Ex­plo­ration Pro­duc­tion Co Ltd & 10 oth­ers, pend­ing be­fore this honourable court.”

He hinged the prayer, among oth­ers, on the fact 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, in which 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 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.

Ac­cord­ing to the se­nior ad­vo­cate, 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.


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