$1.3bn Malabu Deal: Process For Arrest Of Ex-AGF, Adoke, Others Ongoing – FG

$1.3bn Malabu Deal: Process For Arrest Of Ex-AGF, Adoke, Others Ongoing – FG

The Federal Government, on Thursday, said it would soon conclude process for the arrest and extradition of the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, back to Nigeria to face trial over his alleged complicity in the $1.3billion Malabu oil fraud.

Consequently, FG persuaded the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to fix fresh date to enable it to arraign Adoke on two sets of criminal charges marked FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016 and FHC/ABJ/CR/124/17.

The charges were filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

According to the anti-graft agency, Adoke who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan, played key role in “a fraudulent deal” that saw the transfer of ownership of a disputed Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245, to two multinational oil companies, Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd. OPL 245 is regarded as one of the richest oil blocs in Africa.

It was initially awarded to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 1998 by late military head of state, General Sani Abacha, in a process the EFCC insisted was against all known government regulations.

EFCC told the court that investigations revealed that Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd secured OPL 245 through fraudulent scheme involving high scale bribery and corruption by top management of the company and some government officials. Other defendants in the nine-count criminal charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, are a former Minister of Petroleum under Abacha, Chief Dan Etete, an oil mogul, Aliyu Abubakar, as well as six firms- Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Development Company Ltd, Group Construction Ltd and MegaTech Engineering Ltd.

Similarly, aside Adoke, Etete and Aliyu, other defendants in the second three-count charge marked CR/124/17 and dated February 28, were Shell Nigeria Exploration production Company Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, ENI SPA, four Italians, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd.

Meanwhile, following the application by government lawyer, Mr. Johnson Ojugbane, trial Justice John Tsoho adjourned arraignment of the defendants till February 15.

FG had earlier told the court that it was collaborating with international security agencies to arrest Adoke who has remained outside the country since he vacated office.

It predicated moves to arrest Adoke on his alleged repeated refusal to surrender himself to the EFCC.

The court had on two successive dates, also adjourned the matter over inability of the prosecution to produce any of the defendants for trial. When the matter came up on Thursday, Ojogbane told the court that Adoke had remained in hiding, decrying that process for his arrest had been cumbersome.

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