By Innocent Anaba
A former Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, has written current AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, absolving himself of any complicity in a case by the Federal Government against American Bank, JP Morgan Chase.
In a letter written by his lawyers, Paul Erekoro, SAN, among others, Adoke noted that the Federal Government’s argument that he contacted JP Morgan repeatedly and sent an email using the mail of Aliyu Abubakar’s shell company, was false.
Adoke noted that allowing unverified information to be presented before the court, to wit that he and a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, committed the offence of “money laundering by facilitating the payment of the funds to Etete and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited through the Deposit Account,” remain baseless.
He lamented that Malami allowed those instructions to be given, or allowed those “facts” to be presented in a court of law, when he was fully aware that they were not true.
He reminded Malami that he (Malami) had written the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, indicating that “evidence does not appear to have clearly revealed the case of fraud against the parties in view of their claim to have acted in their official capacities.
“In your letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated September 15, 2017, you had also advised the president that: ‘EFCC investigation does not appear to have clearly revealed the case of fraud against the parties, who claimed to have acted in their official capacities with the approval of three consecutive presidents at the time.”
He recalled that even Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources had also appraised the resolution agreements and in his letter to the Chief of Staff alerted to the potential negative view of Nigeria that may follow should international arbitration ensue from the matter.
Relying on Malami’s legal advice, Adoke said that the former Petroleum Minister also came to the conclusion that it was in the national interest to allow all the contending issues to be laid to rest so that Block 245 could be operated for the benefit of the government.
He further quoted the Federal High Court in its judgment dated 07/04/2018, delivered by Justice B. Nyako, which said that the involvement of the plaintiff in the negotiations leading to the implementation of a settlement agreement was in furtherance of the lawful directives of the president.
“The plaintiff cannot be held personally liable for carrying out the lawful /approvals of the president while he served as a minister of the government of the federation,” Adoke quoted the court as saying.
He explained that the government did not appeal that judgment, the legal implication being that the judgment represented the truth of the matters that it decided, for all time.