14 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government, on Tuesday, said it had intensified effort to arrest and extradite the immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, back to Nigeria to face two sets of criminal charges over his alleged involvement in $1.3billion oil bloc fraud.
The government said its decision to liaise with international security agencies to arrest the former Justice Minister who has remained outside the country since he vacated office, followed his repeated refusal to surrender himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Consequently, the government lawyer, Mr. Johnson Ojugbane, persuaded the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to adjourn trial of Adoke and others fingered in the Malabu Oil bloc scandal, till October 26.
Trial Justice John Tsoho okayed the adjournment to enable the prosecution to produce the defendants to enter their plea to criminal charges pending against them before the court.
The EFCC charged Adoke and two multinational oil companies to court on charges of alleged $1.1bn Malabu Oil scam.
On the last adjourned date, the judge, Justice John Tsoho, fixed June 13, for the arraignment of Adoke and the other co-defendants.
Ojogbane, however, said that the matter could not proceed because the EFCC had been unable to get Adoke and other defendants.
“The matter was adjourned until today for the arraignment of the defendants, but up till now, we have not been able to secure the attendance of most of the defendants, because they are outside jurisdiction, that is they are outside the country.
“The Federal Government is doing everything within its powers to bring them back to Nigeria so that they can face their trial.
“The government will take steps, in collaboration with the international police to locate them and bring them back to Nigeria through extradition, which is a very cumbersome process, but it will be done,” Ojogbane said.
He said the court adjourned the matter until Oct. 26 after the court’s vacation to enable the process of bringing Adoke and others back to Nigeria to be intensified.
The EFCC had in December 2016, charged nine suspects, including Adoke, over the purchase of OPL 245.
Adoke was accused of illegally transferring more than $800m purportedly meant for the purchase of the OPL 245 to Chief Dan Etete, Malabu Oil.
The Federal Government had also on March 2, filed fresh charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1bn scandal.
Adoke, Etete, Aliyu Abubakar, ENI Spa, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil and Gas were charged alongside the two multinational oil companies.