‘No evidence linking Adoke, Etete to charges’ — Malami writes Magu on OPL 245

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), has advised Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that nothing in the court charges links the accused to the alleged offence in the OPL 245 saga.

Mohammed Adoke, former minister of justice and attorney general, and Dan Etete, a former minister of petroleum resources, are among those accused by EFCC of committing a $1.1 billion fraud in the deal.

Meanwhile, the federal high court, Abuja, on Thursday fixed February 23, 2018 for ruling in a suit filed by Adoke seeking judicial interpretation of the legality of obeying presidential directives concerning the sale of the oil block to Shell and Eni by Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011.

In a letter dated September 20, 2017, Malami told Magu that there is a need to consolidate on the charges.

He said the Malabu case should be investigated “thoroughly in order to satisfy the constituent elements of offences”.

The AGF said the investigation by the EFCC “does not appear to have clearly revealed the case of fraud against the parties in view of their claimed acting in their official capacities with purported approval of the president”.

“Having fully examine the entire case file, I am incline to request you to consider the charge in relation to the composition of the parties, the offences, the proof of evidence and the case summary in view of the fact that nothing in the proof of evidence appears to have directly linked parties to the offences as charged,” the letter read.

“A curious observation of the entire file clearly indicates that the proof of evidence is unlikely to support the counts which border on fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. The following reason apt.

“A- there is nothing to show that the parties as constituted were at all times working together and having a meeting of the mind to wit: to forget CAC documents and use it for the purpose of divesting the shares of the complainant and thereafter enter into a settlement agreement with FGN and other parties to take delivery of the proceeds of sale of OPL 245.

“B- there is nothing in the proof of evidence to support the charge of money laundering therefore it is unrealistic for the prosecution to proof the elements which include illicit funds, attempt to conceal/concealment of illicit funds, transfer of such funds through various channels to introduce same as legitimate funds, in financial institutions without the express proof of these elements, this count may not be sustainable.

“I am of the view that the Public Officers Protection Act CAP P41 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 limits liability of Public Officers to a period of three months following the acts which are complained of unless if the acts were not within the mandate of the functions of the public officer, and your investigation needs to have covered that eventuality in view of the claim that the acts were authorized by the 3 Presidents before this current administration.

“On the above grounds, I am of the considered view that there is the need to consolidate on the charges and the matter be thoroughly investigated especially regarding the allegations of wrongdoing in connection with the $ 1.1 Billion USD in order to satisfy the constituent elements of offences.

“You are to also take steps to urgently file an application fora worldwide mareva injunction and or the forfeiture of the assets of the beneficiaries of the $1.1Billion USD pending the conclusion of your investigation in the areas above stated.”

The letter is part of the exhibits filed by Adoke’s lawyer at the federal high court, Abuja.

COURT TO RULE ON FEBRUARY 23
The court has fixed February 23 to rule on a suit filed by Adoke.

The ex-AGF is accused of misconduct in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.

In May 2017, Adoke asked the court to declare his prosecution by the EFCC illegal.

The ex-AGF also asked the court to declare that he acted in the deal on the orders of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan.

But Malami asked the court to dismiss the suit. He said Adoke must face trial.

At the court on Thursday, Kanu Agabi, counsel to Adoke, argued that his client was acting on the orders of the president.

Agabi said the president takes action for his ministers whether it is right or wrong.

“We operate a presidential system where all executive powers are vested on one man,” he said.

“It is dictatorial under the constitution and all powers are exercised by him. These dictatorial power enable him to take decisive actions.

“He takes action for his minister and if it failure he takes the blame.”

The lawyer wondered why a minister who obeyed the president’s directive would be punished for wrongdoing.

“We are in peril because of our obedience. We ask your lordship to resolve the matter in our favour,” Agabi said.

On his part, Dapo Apata, counsel to Malami, said the Adoke should not use the court as a shield from prosecution.

“The plaintiff cannot use this court to shield himself from prosecution which is pending before another court,” Apata said.

“We want this court to dismiss the suit in its entirety. The facts of this case is not in court.”

Binta Nyako, the judge handling the case, adjourned the matter to February 28.

SOURCE: The Cable

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