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Buhari’s anti-corruption fight enters NexLevel as EFCC is set to arrest Goodluck Jonathan’s right hand man

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption has taken a new dimension as Nigeria’s anti-graft agency is ready to launch a manhunt on some of the powerful ministers in the previous administration.

One of them is Mohammed Adoke, the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The charges brought against Adoke and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) include fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and money laundering involving the sum of about $1.2bn, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.

The alleged $1.2bn scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.

One of the actions taken by the EFCC include obtaining a court order for the arrest of Adoke.

Others affected by the court’s arrest warrant are: a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, Raph Wezels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastino and Aliyu Abubakar.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja on Wednesday, gave an order for their arrest.

Adoke executed the order of his boss

Opposing the arrest order, Femi Oboro, counsel to the former Justice Minister submitted that his client cannot be held responsible for carrying out presidential directives while he was a minister.

Oboro described the warrant of arrest issued by the court as unlawful, saying a court had earlier ruled that Adoke could not answer for carrying out directives of Jonathan.

“The order came as a surprise to our client considering the fact that the Federal High Court Abuja presided over by Honourable Justice B.F.M Nyako had in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/446/2017 given a reasoned judgment granting to our client the following declaratory reliefs,” Oboro said.

Oboro argued that Adoke shouldn’t be tried for implementing the order of his boss when he was in office,  “The involvement of the plaintiff in the negotiations leading to the implementation of a Settlement Agreement dated 30th November 2006 between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria and the eventual execution of Bloc 245 Malabu Resolution Agreement dated 29th April 2011 between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited was in furtherance of the lawful directives/approval of the President in the exercise of his executive powers,” TheCable quoted him as saying.

According to the legal practitioner, Adoke only negotiated on behalf of the Jonathan-led administration at the time

“The involvement of the plaintiff in the negotiation and eventual execution of the Block 245 Resolution Agreement dated 29th April 2011 between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Shell Nigerian Ultra Deep Limited; and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited; and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited was in furtherance of the lawful directives/approval of the President in the exercise of his executive powers.

“Any correspondence/instruction to JP Morgan or any other entity and ancillary actions and processes taken by the Plaintiff in furtherance of the implementation of the Settlement Agreement dated 30th November 2006; Block 245 Malabu Agreement dated 29th April 2011; Block 245 SNUD Resolution Agreement date 29th April 2011and Block 245 resolution dated 29th April 2011were in furtherance of the lawful directives/approvals of the President in the exercise of his executive powers.

“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,” he said.

He accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of concealing the existence of the judgement of the federal high court, Abuja, exonerating his client from all criminal allegations concerning the OPL 245.

The Malabu Oil scandal has been described as one of the biggest oil scandals in decades on the African continent.

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