Adoke withdraws N10.2bn libel suit against Melaye

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BY  IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI

ABUJA — The Attorney Gen-eral of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, yesterday, applied to withdraw the N10.2 billion libel suit he instituted against a former House of Representatives member, Mr. Dino Melaye, who accused him of aiding and abetting corruption.

*Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke

Melaye and his group, Anti-Corruption Network, ACN, had in a petition written to President Goodluck Jonathan, last year, called for the sack of the AGF, insisting that they had enough evidence to prove that he was not only corrupt, but also aiding corrupt persons and individuals to escape justice.

The group accused Adoke of thwarting the trial of so many multinational companies that perpetuated corruption in Nigeria, including the Halliburton and Seimens fraud cases, even when their parent countries had already found them culpable.

Specifically, Melaye and his group, in their seven-pronged allegation, insisted that the AGF had a case to answer regarding the N150 billion recovered from convicted former Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, the $180 million Halliburton scandal, and the return of the Vaswani Brothers to Nigeria after an alleged N2.5 billion tax evasion.

They alleged in the petition to President Jonathan that it was the AGF that raised a memo that brought the Vaswani Brothers back to Nigeria after they were for a second time in April 2009, deported for tax fraud, adding that Adoke, deliberately refused to re-file the N10billion money laundering charge initially preferred against a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, after it was dismissed by Justice Naron Archibong of the Federal High Court in Lagos who was recently sacked by the National Judicial Council, NJC.

However, irked by the allegations, Adoke, dragged Melaye and the registered trustees of ACN before an Abuja High Court, asking for the sum of N10.2 billion from the defendants for attempting to tarnish his image.

The AGF told the court that the defendants defamed his character through their choice of words in their petition to President Jonathan, saying their words conveyed the impression that he was a dishonourable person, who associated with criminals and economic saboteurs.

He said because of the false and defamatory publication, his hard-earned reputation, character and achievements had been severely tarnished.

To show his seriousness, the AGF, engaged five Senior Advocates of Nigeria that appeared for him on the first day the matter was called up by presiding Justice Goodluck Olasimbo.

Nevertheless, at the resumed hearing on the case, yesterday, the AGF announced his decision to withdraw the case without giving any reason for the action.

 

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