The arraignment of former attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, could not go on yesterday as scheduled, due to non- service of charge on some of the defendants.
Following the failure of the prosecution to serve the charges on the defendants the trial judge, Justice Idris Kutigi, of the High Court of the Fedral CapitalnTerritory (FCT), adjourned to Thursday, based on the agreement of counsel for the arraignment.
Prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga told the court that he was confused as to why some of the defendants were in court when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has not served the charge on them.
Bala Sanga said he does not understand why the accused persons and their counsels were in court when the charges have not been fully served on all the accused persons.
“I’m shocked my lord, we are confused. I don’t know why the defendants are in court when we are yet to serve the charge on them, Sanga said.
The federal government filed a fresh 42-count charge against Adoke and six others over alleged fraud in the Malabu oil deal.
The federal government in a document with charge number CR/151/2020, filed before the FCT High Court accused Adoke and others of receiving gratification to allegedly carry out a fraudulent oil deal.
According to the government, as attorney-general, Adoke mediated controversial agreements that ceded OPL 245 to Shell and Eni who in turn paid about $1.1 billion dollars to accounts controlled by an ex-convict and former petroleum minister, Dan Etete.
Etete, now at large was a former petroleum minister under the regime of General Sani Abacha.
Since he left the country after the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, Adoke only returned into the country on December 19, 2019 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, into the waiting arm of operatives of the EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Adoke who fled the country in 2015, has pending criminal charge brought against him by the EFCC for alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.
In the charge dated 14th January, 2020 and filed on the 15th January, the federal government also charged Rasky Gbinigie, A. Abubakar, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Limited.
According to the charge, the former AGF in August 2013 in Abuja while serving as a minister knowingly received United State Dollars equivalent of N300million which is reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully obtained and thereby committed offence punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap. 532laws of the federation of Nigeria 1990.
The FG charge signed by Bala Sanga on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, further said that one of the accused persons, Rasky Gbinigie conspired with Munamuna Seidougha (at large), Amaran Joseph (at large) and Dauzia Loya Etete (at large), sometime in 2013, in Abuja, dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani to open a Bank Account No. 2018288005 with First Bank of Nigeria Plc to receive the sum of $401,540,000.00.
According to the charge, the accused persons committed an offence contrary to section 366 of the Penal Code and punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.
In count seven, Adoke was said to have in September 2013 knowingly and unlawfully obtained the sum of US dollars equivalent to N367,318,800 and thereby committed an iffebce punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap.532 laws ofbtge federation of Nigeroa 1990
In the charge, Gbinigie, the company secretary of Malabu oil was said to have made false resignation letter signed by one Alhaji Hassan Hindu as havingvresigned from the Board of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited with intent to commute fraud.
Some of the charges against the accused person read.
*That you Mohammed Bello Adoke, being a public servant at the material time, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice of the Government of Nigeria, sometime in August 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court was in possession and custody of the sum of N300m reasonably suspected to have been unlawfully obtained and thereby committed an offence an offence under section 319A of the Penal Code and punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.
*That you Mohammed Bello Adoke, being a public servant at the material time, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice of the Government of Nigeria, sometime in 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, accepted for yourself without consideration, the sum of N300m to broker the negotiation and signing of the Block 245 Resolution Agreement with Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited and thereby committed an offence under section 119 of the Penal Code and Punishable under the same section of the Penal Code.
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