Godwin Tsa, Abuja
After several years in self exile, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) is reported to have been arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Interpol.
Before his arrest, Adoke was charged by the Federal Government for being complicit in graft bordering on the controversial Malubu Oil scam.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Eni Spa, Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastiano, Duazia Louya Etete (aka Dan Etete), Mohammed Bello Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited over the oil block scam.
All the defendants declared wanted had repeatedly failed to appear before the court.
Prosecution of the case suffered many setbacks following the absence of Adoke who left the country shortly after the inauguration of President Mohammadu Buhari in 2015.
Not deterred in it’s quest to prosecute the former Attorney General , the EFCC in April 17, 2019 obtained a warrant of arrest issued by Justice Danlami Zenchi directing relevant security agencies in Nigeria and the Interpol to arrest him.
But before the arrest warrant was issued, Adoke who has consistently denied any involvement and complicity in the Malubu Oil deal, got a judgment of a Federal High Court which barred the Federal government from prosecuting him over his actions while in office.
But commenting on the alleged arrest, Adoke’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) queried how the arrest was carried out against a subsisting order of court which vacated the arrest warrant obtained by the Federal Government.
Said Ozekhome:”I don’t have the facts of the situation but I know that the Federal government has not appealed against the judgment of Justice Zenchi who quashed the warrant of arrest on him.
“The order is subsistiting so I don’t know how the government will go against the order and arrest him in a foreign land, which the judgment was against.
“Besides, the court had told the Federal government that if you want him, then you can serve him with the charge through substituted means by advertising same in a national daily. I have not seen any advertisement to that effect so I don’t know how the arrest came about.”
Ozekhome had got the same court to set the warrant of arrest aside on the grounds that the order was issued without jurisdiction.
Ozekhome told the court that the defendants listed in the charge had not been served with a copy before the order was made.
Consequently, Justice Zenchi on October 25, 2019, quashed the arrest warrant with a directive that the prosecution should follow due process of serving him by substituted means.
Justice Zenchi had specifically ordered that “the arrest warrant issued for the arrest of the 4th-9th defendants in charge No FCT/HC/CR/124/2017 and to be executed by the police and the Interpol is declared null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“Accordingly, the order of 17th April 2019 issuing a bench warrant on the 4th-9th defendants is hereby set aside and vacated.
“It is further ordered that the case be adjourned sine die until the prosecution takes the required procedural steps to effect service on the defendants herein.”
Regardless, the Federal government had not relented in her efforts to arrest Adoke and bring him to book.
The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) recently perfected paper works to that effect
Though the Minister could not be reached for his response, it was learnt that Nigeria recently signed a mutual legal assistance treaty with the UAE that would ensure Nigerians accused of corruption and fraud can be arrested and deported to Nigeria to face prosecution. Such persons could also have their properties in that country seized.
Adoke recently accused Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of instigating his prosecution.
He made the allegations in his book, ‘Burden of Service’ where he equally mentioned former Senate leader, Ali Ndume as one of his traducers.
In the book, he said: “I was told an influential governor from the North-West geopolitical zone once asked Magu why he was after me so vindictively.
“Magu reportedly confessed to him that it was the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that directed him to do so.
“He also advised the governor to tell me that I should go and sort out whatever issues I had with Osinbajo.
“On receiving that information, I recalled that one of Magu’s top aides had also voiced a similar sentiment to someone that the VP had given the marching orders to get Adoke at all costs.
“Still, I won’t blame the VP alone. Magu also had his own agenda. A senator asked him if he had any personal issues with me, and Magu replied that I owned half of the Centenary City in Abuja.”