A former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, named as an alleged beneficiary in the $1.3 billion Malabu oil scam, has said he may not return home until he gets some concessions from the Nigerian government.
“I will definitely come back, if I have the assurance that they will not harm me, they will not humiliate me any further, they will respect the laws of the land,” Mr. Adoke told The Cable in an interview published on Tuesday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said Mr. Adoke, who was AGF from 2010-2015, participated in the alleged fraud that marred the transfer of OPL 245 licence from Malabu Oil and Gast Limited to Royal Dutch Shell and Italy’s ENI.
Italian prosecutors also accused Mr. Adoke and 11 others, including ex-Petroleum Minister Dan Etete and Shell and ENI officials, of wrongdoings when the deal was struck in 2011.
The EFCC accused Mr. Adoke of being on the run, and the anti-graft office earlier this month sought a court order to compel him to appear for trial.
But Mr. Adoke said he would remain in The Netherlands, where he said he has been studying since 2015, unless there are competent assurances from Nigerian authorities that he won’t be humiliated.
“If I am arrested and granted bail, I hope they will obey the court and not treat me like they have been treating others, they will not scandalise me, and there will be no mob trial, media circus, certainly I will return,” Mr. Adoke said.
He, however, expressed doubts that the prevailing political atmosphere in the country could afford him such privileges after his return.
“But I will tell you something: that is not the environment that exists in Nigeria today. That is where my fear lies.
“Also, I cannot underestimate the extent to which those after me can go considering the enormous power and influence they have in the government of today,” Mr. Adoke said.
The former attorney general controversially approved the transfer of $801 million from a Nigerian government account into the private accounts of an ex-convict, Dan Etete. A large part of the money is believed to have gone as kick-backs to officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, including the former president and Mr. Adoke. Both men have, however, denied the claims.
The $801 million was part of the total $1.3 billion Shell and ENI paid for OPL 245, considered one of the richest oil blocks in Africa. While $1.1 billion of the money was paid directly into a Nigerian government account in London, Shell had earlier paid about $200 million as signature bonus. It was the whole $1.1 billion that Mr. Adoke ordered be transferred into Malabu accounts controlled by Mr. Etete, but court cases in England by middlemen, stalled the full transfer.