By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed its intention to declare the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, wanted over alleged refusal to surrender himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for prosecution.
Adoke, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan, is facing two separate criminal charges, following his alleged involvement in oil bloc fraud.
He allegedly played a key role in “a fraudulent deal” that saw the transfer of ownership of a disputed Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245, to two multinational oil companies, Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company and Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd.
Meantime, when the matter came up, yesterday, the EFCC told the court that it had not been able to serve copies of the criminal charges on Adoke, who it said has remained in hiding outside the country.
Consequently, the agency said it would want the court to issue warrant of arrest against the former AGF, though it sought guidance on whether such application could be made orally.
Meanwhile, after listening to the prosecution counsel, trial Justice John Tsoho said he would not be able to issue such arrest warrant since Adoke had not been formally arraigned before him to enable the court properly assume jurisdiction over the matter.
Noting that such request could not be hinged on an oral application, Justice Tsoho said he would have been minded to issue the arrest warrant assuming Adoke had been arraigned and was attempting to escape trial.
The court subsequently adjourned the matter till June 13 for arraignment of all the defendants.
FG had in December 2016, slammed nine-count criminal charge against Adoke and eight others over the oil bloc scam.
Other defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, were Etete and Aliyu, as well as six firms- Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Development Company Ltd, Group Construction Ltd and MegaTech Engineering Ltd.
Aside Adoke, Etete and Aliyu, other defendants in the second three-count charge marked CR/124/17 and dated February 28, were Shell Nigeria Exploration production Company Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, ENI SPA, four Italians, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd.