By Innocent Anaba
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, witness, yesterday, told a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Abuja that a former Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, followed due process in the OPL 245 settlement of 2011.
The former AGF is currently standing trial along side Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, a property developer, Gbinije, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited’s company secretary, Shell Ultra Deep, Eni/Agip and SNECPO, over allegations of conspiracy in the controversial sale of OPL 245 to Shell and Eni by Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
Mohammed Abacha claimed he owned 50 per cent of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited but that his name was allegedly fraudulently removed as a shareholder.
His father, Gen Sani Abacha, was the head of state when the oil block was awarded to Malabu in 1998.
Adoke has maintained that he did nothing wrong in the OPL 245 settlement and that when he was approached by Abacha over the share issue in 2011, he told him it was a shareholders’ dispute that the Office of the AGF could not interfere in and should be addressed by the board or through a civil suit.
At the hearing in the matter, yesterday, Prof. Peter Akper, who served as Special Adviser to three AGFs from 2007 to 2015, was quizzed by Mr. Ufom Uket, the EFCC prosecutor, over his knowledge of the OPL 245 settlement agreement as well as what he knew about the ownership of Malabu.
Akper, a professor of law, said he served as SA to AGFs Michael Aondoaaka, Adetokunbo Kayode and Adoke and knew most of the defendants on trial.
Paul Erokoro, Adoke’s lawyer, asked Akper: “During your period of service as SA to the 1st defendant (Adoke), will you say he was a stickler to following all laws and due process?”
Akper replied: “My Lord, I think that is a fair description of him.”
He told the court: “In 2002, the Federal Government revoked Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd interest in OPL 245 and awarded the same block to Shell Ultra Deep. So, Malabu’s contention was that Shell was their Technical Partner and so, it was unfair for FG to take their interest in OPL 245 and give to a company that was supposed to be on their side as partners. That was their contention. That was the mistrust between the parties.
“Also, because there was a subsisting arbitration between Shell and Federal Government, the FG was anxious to be relieved of that contingent liability (the $2 billion claim).”