Court Orders EFCC To Detain Former Minister Of Justice For 14 Days

*Adoke SAN
Fresh facts have emerged that former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), will spend some more time in detention as Justice A.O. Musa of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja on Thursday granted the application of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to keep Minister of Justice in its custody for another 14 days preparatory to his arraignment.

Granting the application, the judge stated that the extension of the remand of the respondent for another 14 days for the purpose of his arraignment in court was necessary and granted as prayed. It would be recalled that the EFCC took custody of Adoke upon his arrival from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, last year. Adoke, who fled the country in 2015, has pending criminal charge of alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

The government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted his then Petroleum Minister, Chief Dan Etete, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO). Etete’s Malabu Oil and Gas, however, reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court. While Shell challenged the decision, an alleged ‘fraudulent settlement and resolution’ was said to have been consummated under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, with Shell and ENI buying the oil block from Malabu for $1.1billion.

Investigations by the EFCC into the deal revealed crimes that border on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion against Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) and their officials, culminating in criminal charges against Adoke, Etete and others, which are pending in both the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Information has it that it was the absence of the defendants that slowed the prosecution of the suspects, forcing the EFCC to obtain an arrest warrant against them on April 17, 2019. Adoke, however, arrived the country on December 19, 2019 from Dubai, into the waiting arms of the EFCC operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power.

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