Former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN, on Monday decried what he termed “his continuous illegal detention” by the INTERPOL in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The former AGF, through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, told the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that he was still being held in Dubai despite the valid order made by the court on October 25 vacating its earlier arrest warrant issued against him.
Recall that Adoke was arrested on November 11 in Dubai and reports said the Nigerian authorities are moving for his extradition to Nigeria to face charges on the alleged Malabu Oil scandal.
Ozekhome stated this on Monday at the resumed hearing of a fresh suit he instituted against the EFCC on November 6, on behalf of Adoke, praying the court to strike out Adoke’s name from earlier charges filed against the former AGF, Shell Production Limited and nine others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-corruption commission had in 2017 filed charges against Adoke and the others, in a case marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17, bordering on fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and 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.
Justice Danladi Senchi, sitting at Jabi, Abuja, had on April 17 issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Adoke and other defendants in the case.
The judge, however, vacated by the arrest warrant on October 25 following an application made by Ozekhome before the court to that effect.
At Monday’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 stated that both parties had agreed that the matter be adjourned till Wednesday, December 4 to enable the prosecution respond to the Adoke’s application.
This was confirmed by Uket, who stated that latest by today (Tuesday), 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 being held in Dubai.
According to Ozekhome, “When his (Adoke’s) warrant of arrest was vacated on October 25, he felt he should go for medical checkup in Dubai. He was arrested there based on the earlier court warrant of arrest.”
The senior advocate informed that Adoke protested 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 which initially issued it.
He added that all decent steps to ensure that the former AGF is released by the Interpol had been taken, including writing EFCC, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, the UAE authorities and Interpol, which had not yielded any result.
While saying that it is Adoke today, it could be anybody’s turn tomorrow, Ozekhome declared that, “it is the duty of the AGF to ensure that the rights of every Nigerian citizen are protected.”
Meanwhile, Justice Senchi has adjourned the case till Wednesday to hear the application.
In 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.”
The former minister 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 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.
The senior advocate said 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.
This, he noted is “a gross misstatements, misrepresentation, concealment and suppression of material facts” by the EFCC.
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