Nigeria: Detained in UAE, Ex-AGF Adoke Writes Interpol, Asks to Be Freed

(file photo).
1 December 2019

A former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, has written the general secretariat of INTERPOL in France to demand his release.

INTERPOL arrested Mr Adoke, who is on trial for corruption in Nigeria, on November 11 in Dubai.

He has been detained in the UAE since then.

In a letter, dated November 28 and seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, Mr Adoke described his arrest and current trial as political persecution by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and an abuse of court orders.

Following Mr Adoke's alleged involvement in the controversial Malabu oil deal, the anti-grraft agency sought to prosecute him and other suspects.

However, the former attorney-general was on the run and was on self-exile.

Mr Adoke played a key role in a 2011 agreement that saw the transfer of OPL 245, a rich oil block, to Shell and Eni. In return, about $1.1 billion went to Malabu, a shady company then controlled by a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete. Virtually nothing went to the Nigerian government in the shady deal.

A large chunk of the money is believed to have gone to officials of Shell and Eni as well as senior officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The oil firms and their officials are being prosecuted in Italy for their roles in the scandal.

In Nigeria, the trial was stalled largely by the inability of the EFCC to serve papers on Mr Adoke and other suspects.

The anti-graft agency then approached the Federal Territory High Court presided over by Justice D. Z Zenchi. In April, the judge issued a warrant for Mr Adoke's arrest following an ex-parte application by the EFCC.

The EFCC also made a request to INTERPOL for an international warrant of arrest to be issued against Mr Adoke.

Justice Zenchi, however, invalidated the arrest warrant on October 25 based on a request from Mr Adoke's lawyers who argued that the order was wrongfully procured.

The judge also asked the EFCC to serve Mr Adoke the court papers by substituted means.

But on November 11, Mr Adoke was arrested by the UAE authorities.

Mr Adoke said in his letter that the arrest, "was intended for unlawful and malicious purposes.

"On 11th November 2019, our client was arrested in Dubai (UAE) by the Interpol in breach of its Article 3 of its constitution as agent of the political authorities in Nigeria in circumstances described below as unlawful.

"The criminal charges filed in the courts, in Nigeria, against our client by the EFCC, are intended for unlawful and malicious purposes, to wit: political persecution of our client for reasons connected with our client's former position in public office as a senior figure in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," Mr Adoke said in his letter signed by his lawyer, Femi Oboro.

Mr Adoke who has denied links to the alleged Malabu fraud and had been on self-exile since vacating office in May 2015, accused the current government of political intimidation and abuse of court orders.

Mr Adoke cited the federal high court decision of Justice Binta Nyako, in April 2017 where the judge ruled that Mr Adoke's alleged actions were in line with his lawful duties.

The letter also made reference to a September 2017 communication from the AGF, Abubakar Malami, where Mr Malami advised President Muhamadu Buhari that no valid case could be established against Mr Adoke and others accused in the Malabu scandal.

"A material matter considered in the judgment of Honourable Justice B.F.M Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja dated 07 April 2018, in the case of Mohammed Bello Adoke Supra, is the letter of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) dated 20th September 2017, issued in the exercise of the powers granted under s. 105 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2019, to review the criminal charges preferred against our client before the Federal High Court Abuja, under Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/268, that the "proof of evidence is unlikely to support the counts which border on fraud, conspiracy and money laundering against our client in the charge before the Federal High Court under Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/268."

Mr Adoke described his arrest as an attempt by Nigerian authorities to facilitate international illegality by propelling INTERPOL to violate section 3 of its constitution which prohibits intervention for political and other reasons.

"In our client's view, the prosecuting authorities in Nigeria have deliberately and maliciously procured the Interpol to engage in the breach of Article 3 of its constitution when it procured the Interpol to execute the Red Notice for the arrest of our client on 11th November 2019 in Dubai (UAE) for political reasons, and for the continuous persecution of our client as a leading opposition figure in Nigeria for political reasons."

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