Monday 5 August 2019

Malabu: I deserve commendation, not prosecution, says Adoke

A former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN),

says rather than being prosecuted for abuse of office, what he deserves is commendation for his role in the Malabu oil block saga.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said last week that it had established a prima facie case against Adoke; a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, and others for their roles in the implementation of the settlement and resolution of agreements on Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and 214 between the Federal Government and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, belonging to Etete, in 2010.

According to the EFCC, the late Gen Sani Abacha gave Etete, who was his petroleum minister, the OPL 245. But President Olusegun Obasanjo retrieved the oil block from Etete and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company. Etete’s firm, Malabu Oil and Gas, was, however, said to have reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court.

In a statement last week, the EFCC said Adoke, who was the AGF under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, abused his office in granting OPL 245 to Shell and ENI in 2011.

The anti-graft agency said it should have arraigned Adoke over the oil block but he absconded.

But in a statement personally signed by him on Sunday, Adoke described the EFCC’s claim of a prima facie case against him as “ridiculous, ill-informed and full of ignorance.”

The ex-AGF claimed that going by revelations in the ongoing trial of Shell and ENI in Italy, the EFCC should have dropped the charges against him as he did no wrong.

He said, “OPL 245 was not even awarded to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd by President Goodluck Jonathan, under whose administration I served as Attorney General. It was awarded by Gen. Sani Abacha in 1998. It was revoked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who later decided to return the oil block to Malabu after an out-of-court settlement.

“The only thing I did as AGF was to advise President Jonathan that legally speaking, the Consent Judgement reached by Obasanjo was valid and subsisting and should be respected.

“At the time, Shell was making an arbitral claim of $2bn against Nigeria over President Obasanjo’s decision to return the oil block to Malabu in 2006.

“Ordinarily, I should be commended for helping my country avoid such a huge fine. Nevertheless, it is nothing but unadulterated mischief by the EFCC to say I am being tried for granting an oil block to Malabu. Even a primary school pupil knows that the Attorney General does not award oil blocks. All oil blocks are awarded by the President on the advice of the Ministry of Petroleum.

“It is part of the evil agenda and vendetta against me that I would be accused of awarding an oil block, as the EFCC shamelessly claimed in its bizarre press release.”

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