Adoke Regains Freedom in Dubai, Arrives Nigeria
After one month and two weeks in custody, former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Mallam Mohammed Bello Adoke has been released by the International Police Organization Interpol.
Adoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was let off the hook yesterday in Dubai, United Arab Emirate where he had been held incommunicado based on the international warrant of arrest issued against him by an Abuja High Court.
He fled the country in 2015 to Netherland following the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the 2015 presidential election and had since refused to come back home in spite of several criminal charges filed against him by the Federal Government.
The former Minister who was indicted for fraud to the tune of $1.2Billion Dollars in the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, otherwise known as Malabu Oil scandal was in November arrested by Interpol Operatives in Dubai where he had gone to seek medical treatment.
His lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome confirmed that the ex AGF had been released by Interpol and authorities of Dubai.
Ozekhome also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria claimed that Adoke was unlawfully arrested by Interpol because the warrant of arrest earlier issued against him by Justice Danlami Zenchi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court has been vacated by the same judge on October 25 this year.
“I can confirm to you authoritatively that Adoke has been released from the custody of the Interpol and will arrive Nigeria in any moment.
“He was let off the hook because nothing incriminating was found on him and he has on his own volition opted to come back to Nigeria.
“Adoke is not extradited by the Nigerian government because there is no reason for that. He is coming back to Nigeria to clear his name from the alleged Malabu oil scandal.
“He is innocent of the allegations against him, Adoke has not done anything wrong. He is already airborne and will land in Nigeria this afternoon today Thursday.
The ex-AGF was arrested on November 11 in Dubai while the federal authorities are moves for his extradition to Nigeria to face charges on the alleged Malabu Oil scandal.
Ozekhome had last month at the Abuja High Court during the hearing of a suit Adoke filed against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC on November 6 said that the detention of his client is unjustifiable.
Adoke had in the suit prayed the court to strike out his name from earlier charges filed against the Shell Production Limited and nine others by the EFCC.
The anti-corruption commission had in 2017 filed charges against Adoke and the others, in a case marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17, bordering on fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and other forms of offences involving the sum of about $1.2B forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
The alleged $1.2B scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
Justice Danladi Senchi, sitting at Jabi, Abuja, had on April 17 issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Adoke and other defendants in the case.
The judge, however, vacated the arrest warrant on October 25 following an application made by Ozekhome before the court to that effect.
Ozekhome had informed the court that the former AGF had filed an application seeking the removal of his name from the charge sheet.
According to the senior advocate, the application was filed on November 5 but was served on the prosecution by the court bailiff on November 27.
According to Ozekhome, “When Adoke’s warrant of arrest was vacated on October 25, he felt he should go for medical checkup in Dubai. He was arrested there based on the earlier court warrant of arrest.”
The senior advocate informed the court that Adoke protested his arrest by the Interpol, which he said was against Chapter 3 of the Interpol Article since the said warrant had been vacated by the court which initially issued it.
He added that all decent steps to ensure that the former AGF is released by the Interpol had been taken, including writing EFCC, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, the UAE authorities and Interpol, which had not yielded any result.
While saying that it is Adoke today, it could be anybody’s turn tomorrow, Ozekhome declared that, “it is the duty of the AGF to ensure that the rights of every Nigerian citizen are protected.”
The former minister hinged the prayer, among others, on the fact that he had secured a judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, against the Attorney-General of the Federation, representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria in which he was completely exculpated with respect to the facts and circumstances relating to the Malabu Oil scam.
Ozekhome argued that having been exonerated in the Malabu Oil scandal by Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, the inclusion of Adoke’s name as a defendant in the criminal case was erroneous.
According to the senior advocate, EFCC concealed the April 13, 2018 judgment by Justice Nyako in which the court held that Adoke could not be held liable for any infraction in the whole Malabu Oil saga for carrying out a presidential directive from the FCT High Court.
This, he noted is “a gross misstatements, misrepresentation, concealment and suppression of material facts” by the EFCC.