Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), who returned to Nigeria Thursday, is the guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-graft agency confirmed.
“I don’t know whether you will call it arrest but he’s with us,” Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, said to BusinessDay in response to a question.
Adoke returned to Nigeria after he regained freedom from the International Police (INTERPOL).
He was released after one month and a week in the custody of INTERPOL in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Confirming Adoke’s release Thursday his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, said Adoke was already airborne to Nigeria.
According to Ozekhome, the former AGF opted to come back to Nigeria, so as to enable him clear his name in the alleged fraud in the OPL 245 otherwise known as Malabu Oil deal.
“He has been released and he is airborne to Nigeria. He has been released because nothing was found against him, nothing incriminating was found. So the UAE authorities and Interpol were forced to release him.
“He opted to come to Nigeria, he could have gone to any other country of his choice. But he is on his way to Nigeria and he will arrive this afternoon”, Ozekhome said.
Ozekhome disclosed that Adoke bought his ticket himself to return to Nigeria because he believed he was innocent of the charges against him.
“He is coming on his own volition, he was not extradited, the federal government could not extradite him and would even have no reason to arrest him on his arrival because the order for his arrest has been set aside by Justice Zenchi on October 25,” Ozekhome added.
Adoke was arrested on November 11 in Dubai by the INTERPOL immediately he entered the country to seek medical attention.
The international police said their action was based on an international bench warrant for Adoke’s arrest issued on April 17, 2019 by Justice Danlami Senchi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
But Adoke had insisted his arrest in Dubai was illegal since the purported bench warrant had been vacated by the same court.
However, the INTERPOL and the authorities in UAE, had to release him on Wednesday when nothing was found against him.
Adoke’s extradition was faced with some huddles following failure of the federal government to communicate with Interpol and the authorities in Dubai, on the order setting aside the bench warrant for his arrest.
Justice Senchi had on April 17 issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Adoke and other defendants in the case but vacated it on October 25 following an application made by Ozekhome to that effect.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others, including Adoke and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
EFCC in the suit marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17, accused the defenfants of fraudulent allocating the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
They were also accused of other forms of offences involving the sum of about $1.2billion, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
The alleged $1.2 billion 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.
Already Justice Zenchi has commenced hearing in Adoke’s motion seeking the removal of his name from the Malabu Oil scam trial.
Adoke had in a motion, M/763/19, filed by his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, sought an order of the court striking out his name as a defendant in the case pending before the court.
His request was predicated on the grounds 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 wherein 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.
Ozekhome claimed among others that 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 mis-statement, mis-representation, concealment and suppression of material facts” by the EFCC.
Onyinye Nwachukwu and Felix Omohomhion, Abuja