Nigeria: Malabu - EFCC Failure to Serve Charges Stalls Adoke, Others' Arraignment

(file photo)
23 January 2020

The arraignment of former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke and his co-defendants accused of fraud in respect of Malabu Oil scam was yesterday stalled at an FCT High Court in Gwagwalada.

This was due to the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to serve all the defendants with the charge sheet in the alleged fraudulent activities in the $1.1b Malabu oil deal.

EFCC's lead counsel, Bala Sanga, said the commission had not served the second defendant, Aliyu Abubakar, because he had been on the run and was only arrested Wednesday morning.

He said the commission wanted to ensure that Aliyu's presence in court would be ascertained before others would be served, noting his surprise to see the lawyers to the defendants in court.

However, Aliyu's lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), objected to the prosecution's claim that his client was on the run, saying his client voluntarily appeared in court.

Adoke's lawyers, Paul Erokoro (SAN) and Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said the EFCC had refused to serve the 42-count charge on their client despite that he had been in the agency's custody since December 19, 2020.

While six of the seven defendants were represented by lawyers in court, the fourth defendant, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited was not represented by a lawyer; howbeit, represented by one of its officials, who told the court that the firm had not been served.

Kutigi adjourned the hearing to today.

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