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Fraud:Adoke Still In EFCC Custody As INTERPOL Completes Its Job Forcing Ozekhome, SAN , To Speak Out

By Suleiman Umaru

At long  last , the much publicised return of Mohammed Adoke, a one –time  Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and minister of Justice, under former President Goodluck Jonathan  from Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE, had come to passed.  Note that Adoke, the former AGF, had been in the custody of the UAE police on the instruction of the International Police Organisation, INTERPOL, who had arrested him since last November    He was accompanied back to Nigeria by the INTERPOL officials from the Oil –rich Arab country on Thursday, December 19, 2019, to waiting hands of INTERPOL ,operatives in Nigeria.

 He  was said to have been  arrested by  the INTERPOL,  operatives, at the city of  Dubai, UAE, at the instance of   the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  over his  alleged involvement  in granting the Oil prospecting License,,OPL,  245, popular, Malabu Oil Block, to hell Nigeria  Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCO, and ENI, an Italian Oil Company.

  The Mlaabu Oil Block , according to sources was initially    granted  to Dan Etete, a one-time minister of Petroleum Resources, as a parting gift by late General Sani Abacha, who was the country’s Head of state at the time of the transaction.  The transaction may  have been conducted without following due process as the country was said to have lost millions of dollar, forcing  former President Olusegun Obasanjo to revoke the license and reassigned it to SNEPCO, a subsidiary of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.

Adoke   may  not have found   the action of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP,  led government  funny as he fought back using all the resources at his disposal and his contacts in the Presidency and Nigerian National Petroleum Corportion, NNPC, Circle. In  2006, the Court ruled that the  government   should return the OPL 245 to him.  but  SNEPCO Challenged the Court decision .

The case had dragged on in Court  for a couple f years that  the embattled   Adoke , saw it  as a challenge to intervene inorder to resolve the  conflight using government might The Oil Block was allegedly  sold  to SNEPCO and Eni, an Italian Oil Company by the Jonathan administration. Etete cried out of being schemed out of the whole transactions by selling the  Malabu Oil Block at the sum of $1.1 bn to SNEPCO and ENI, an Italian Oil Company insisting that the Oil Block belong to him and not the government.

The alleged  fraudulent sale  of the Block became a problem for the Jonathan administration that the Akwa Ibom state   born politician saw it as an opportunity to quit from the PDP and to fight from outside. His exit from the Opposition PDP  to join the  ruling All Progressive  Congress, APC, may have opened  up a can of worm about  the Malabu Oil Block a and their Nigerian Collaborators, including the former AGF. The matter may have been  filtered out to the hearing  of the Katsina state born Nigerian President, regarded in political circles as an ant-corruption Czar, who may called  for the file  for the Malabu Oil Block tractions.  

It was an opportunity for the case to be taken over by  the no nonsense   the Magu led EFCC, which had been watching the scenario  over the years on the sideline   to probe the   the Malabu Oil Block deal. The investigation of the Commission is very revealing. It  was said to have led to  the  discovery of  other Crimes linked t ranging from  Conspiracy, forgery, Corruption to money laundering  to  the tune of N1.2 billion, by the government officials involved in the  sales of the Oil Block, an indication that the former AGF , has  case to answer.

This may have set the stage  for  the Commission to prepare the charges against him in order to prosecute him. It was not surprising why the agency dragged him to Court  but  he was not in the country to answer to the charges leveled  against him. Last April, the  agency  had obtained  a Court order  to arrest him.  This may have informed why  the it    contacted the INTERPOL,in Europe and other parts of the world  to take up the responsibility of arresting him because of  its wide  network . The plan worked out as he was arrested in Dubai, UAE.

 Many had expected that the former AGF, would be allowed to go back to Nigeria a free person  to answer to the EFCC ,charges against him  since he had volunteered   on his own to return  after he had been set free by the country’s  police. They got it wrong.   The INTERPOL officials in Dubai , may  not have given  him any room to worry  about his freedom  on arrival in the country  as he was said to have discussed freely with them.

Mohammed Adoke: Embattled Former AGF

Unknown to him  the EFCC , personnel and other security operatives , had taken  advantage of his planned return to the country to take over the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , to avoid giving him room  to escape.  Although, he may sensed that he had fallen into Magu’s hand when the  INTERPOL officials from the Dubai  office, joined entered  the Emirate Commercial flight to accompany him to Nigeria . It was too late to cancel the flight.

 His mind  may  have jumped into his heart  when he saw a large army of EFCC, personnel and the local INTERPOL officials,  at the Nnamdi Azikiwe , International airport awaiting for him.. He gave up the hope of going home as  a free person but as a prisoner of EFCC.

Eye witness account said he was quickly  whisked away  to the INTERPOL office  in Abuja, no sooner the Emirate  aircraft touched down and subsequently  transferred  to the EFCC office and  handed over to them . He  was said to have been detained while the agency Lawyers perfect their documents to give the former AGF, regarded as a ‘’big fish’’ in political circles, a legal backing.

The agency had approached   an Abuja Federal High Court  , which gave  it the permission to detain him for two weeks , in order to complete its investigation, on. Justice Othman Musa , a Vacation Judge of  an Abuja High Court,  was said have granted the EFCC, request to  detain  him, for the two weeks  in order to   hear his own  side  of the story on the sale sale of Malabu Oil Block as  one of the Principal figures in the multi-million dollars transaction.

 At the height of the Malabu Oil Block crisis, the former AGF, had told those that cares to listen that there was no decision  that  was done by his office, particular on  the Malabu Oil Block without the approval of then President  Jonathan, an indication that the was  aware of the Malabu Oil Block deal.

 The EFCC interrogators may  want  him to open up on  the Jonathan’s  connection to the Malabu Oil Block sales before inviting him for questioning.  This is bad news for the former president as Magau, the acting EFCC,  Chairman  would not hesitate to invite  him for  questioning over the Malabu Oil scandal if there is need.

Ozekhome, the SAN and  former AGF ,Lawyer, who is not happy over the continued  detention of his client , appears to be working round the clock to facilitate his release from the EFCC custody. The legal luminary had faulted  the action of the Commission to keep the  former AGF, in their custody  for no justifiable reason.

An aggrieved Ozekhome, SAN,  had described  the obtaining  of a Court order  by the ant-graft agency  to detain the former AGF AS ‘’unnecessary’’. According to him , there was no basis for such as  he had already been charged  even in abstentia  while he was in the Netherlands, popular Holland,  for a Masters degree programme.

The question on the lips of most people is: Did the former AGF, send back words to the Magu led EFCC , that he was running a programme in Netherlands but would make himself available for questioning on completion of his studies?

Legal experts believe that  if he had done so, the EFCC officials could not have taken the trouble of contacting  INTERPOL offices in Europe and other parts of the world to arrest  and return him to Nigeria  o face the charges of Corruption and other crimes against him over the sale of the Malabu Oil Block.

Given his legal background, Ozekhome, maintains that since the former AGF , returned to the country voluntarily , there was no reason whatsoever for the INTERPOL  to arrest him on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja   and taken to EFCC office where he  was detained.

Mike Osekhome: SAN And Adoke’s Lawyer

The SAN  who could not hide his feeling had queried  the EFCC, officials : of what use  is his present in carceration   meant to achieve? .He fears  that the intention of the Magu led agency  for detaining  the former AGF is ‘’to subdue him, punish him, wear him out mentally, physically, psychologically and psychically, which people was done  in order to force him to speak out on the erstwhile Jonathan administration.

Appealing  to the Magu led EFCC, to grant the former AGF , administrative bail  to trat himself , stressing that it was his health challenge that took him Dubai, UAE, before he fell into the waiting hands of INTERPOL officials, warning  that failure to do so  would  force them  to take the legal  steps  ‘’to  vacate the  ex parte order’’.

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