The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed Feb. 28 to rule in a suit instituted by Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), former Attorney-General of the Federation, against the present Attorney-General, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Adoke, in the suit, is praying the court to declare a criminal charge filed against him by the Federal Government invalid, null and void.
He is also asking the court to declare that he was acting on instructions of former President Goodluck Jonathan in respect to the Settlement Agreement of the controversial 1.09 billion dollar Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245).
Adoke, in the suit filed by his counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN ) urged the court to declare his ongoing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) on account of carrying out the lawful directives of the former president as illegal.
When the matter was called on Thursday, Agabi tendered documents showing that Malami had advised the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu to review the criminal charge against Adoke.
Agabi tendered a letter before the court, written by Malami where he stated that he felt the real parties involved in the deal were not charged.
“I view, and rightly so that, there are other key players, non public officials who are very relevant parties given their actions in divesting the complainant shares by the alleged forgery.
” You are to also forward your comments explaining the reason for not charging the principal players such as Rasky Gbinigie, who was the company Secretary of Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
“This is because he was instrumental in the filings of all CAC forms that fraudulently changed the Directors and the shares structure of the company as well as Seidugha Munamuna and Kweku Amefegha who are directors.”
Malami, in the letter further stated that: ”Having fully examined the entire case, I am inclined to request you to reconsider the charge in relation to the composition of the parties, the offences, the proof of evidence and the case summary.
“This is in view of the fact that nothing in the proof of evidence appears to have directly linked the parties to the offences as charged”.
The minister further said that a curious observation of the entire file clearly indicated that the proof of evidence was unlikely to support the nine counts which borders on fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
“The following reasons are apt, there is nothing to show that parties as constituted weere at all times working together to forge CAC documents and use it for the purpose of divesting the shares of the complainant.
”More so, the AGF advised that there was nothing in the proof of evidence to support the charge of money laundering.
“The EFCC investigation and attached proof of evidence to the nine count charge does not appear to have clearly reviewed the case of fraud against the parties.
“This is since they claimed to have acted in their capabilities with the approval of three consecutive presidents.”
He concluded that on the above grounds, he was of the view that there was need to consolidate on the charges and the matter be thoroughly investigated.
Another document tendered before the court by Adoke was a letter dated Dec. 13, 2017, written by the Minister of State, Petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, to the Presidency.
In the letter, the minister said: “I am of the considered view that following the advice of the Attorney-General, the Federal Government is obliged to respect the resolutions of the settlement agreement entered by the Federal Government with respect to OPL 245.
“My experience is that the potency of bilateral investment treaties, upon which a claim could be made on Nigeria, is such that any attempt to abrogate the settlement agreement or take any steps that will undermined its integrity could prove costly to the country.”
Opposing Adoke’s application, on behalf of the Federal Government, the Solicitor- General of the Federation, Mr Dayo Apata, argued that Adoke could not use a civil suit to truncate a criminal matter.
“The matter pending in the other court is a criminal matter and this suit is an abuse because in our laws, you cannot use a civil suit to truncate another criminal suit.
” If there is a criminal suit which has already been filed against the plaintiff, (Adoke), let him go and answer it and not come to another court to truncate it,” Apata said.
According to him, the letter from the attorney- general is only an opinion saying further investigation should be carried out and more evidence should be considered.
He said it had nothing to do with the legal issues as to whether a case already filed in court can be truncated by a civil suit.
The judge, Justice Binta Nyako, adjourned the matter until Feb. 28 for ruling.