Tuesday, 4 April 2017

EFCC ‘should arrest Adoke, Etete, others’

EFCC ‘should arrest Adoke, Etete, others’

A Federal High Court judge in Abuja has advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to deploy its arresting powers to produce before the court those indicted in the controversial $1.1 billion Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 transaction (also known as the Malabu Oil deal).
Justice John Tsoho gave the advice yesterday when EFCC counsel Jonson Ojogbane made a request for direction when two of the three charges the commission filed in relation to the Malabu Oil deal were mentioned.

The first of the charges was filed on December 21, last year. There are nine defendants, including former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Bello Adoke (SAN).
Others are former Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete, Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Ltd, Group Construction Ltd and Megatech Engineering Ltd.
The second charge filed on March 2, has Adoke and Abubakar (of AA Oil) as defendants.
The second charge was first mentioned yesterday. The defendants were neither in court, nor represented by lawyers.
Ojogbane announced his appearance for the prosecution. He said the prosecution was not yet able to effect personal service of the charge on the defendants.
He sought the court’s direction on whether or not to apply orally or by way of a motion for arrest warrants against the defendants.
Ojogbane said: “We are yet to serve the defendants in this case. We have been unable to serve them, particularly, the first defendant (Adoke). We are told he is outside the country.
“I will appreciate if my lord can guide me. I actually want to make an application for arrest warrant against defendants.”
Citing Section 35 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Ojogbane said: “My lord, I wish to be guided about the procedure. I want to know if I can apply orally or file a motion.”
Justice Tsoho replied: “You can’t apply orally. My understanding of the law is that until you arraign anybody, you cannot make an order of arrest against the person.
“If a defendant has been arraigned and he is not coming for trial, the court can issue arrest warrant against such person.
“The prosecution can use its coercive powers under the law to arrest a defendant to answer to the charges pending against them.”
Ojogbane explained that he required the warrant to begin extradition proceedings against the defendants, who are overseas.
His logic is that with the cooperation of the AGF Office, the INTERPOL will facilitate the arrest of the defendants, if  a warrant is attached to all the documents to be sent to the foreign authorities.
Justice Tsoho, who was not persuaded by Ojogbane’s explanation, stated that with or without an arrest warrant, extradition proceedings could be initiated.
Realising that the judge was unwilling to grant his request, Ojogbane sought an adjournment to enable the prosecution take further steps to bring the defendants  to court.
When the other charge was called, similar scenario played out. Justice Tsoho adjourned till June 13 for arraignment.
The third charge is before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). There are 11 defendants.
They are Adoke, Etete, Shell, Agip,  Eni,  Aliyu Abubakar (of AA Oil Ltd), Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
Others are a director of Shell, Ralph Wetzels and three Italian directors of Agip Exploration Ltd – Casula Roberto, Putatti Stefeno and Burrafato Sebastiano.
The defendants are charged with conspiracy and official corruption in relation to their alleged acceptance of $801 million from the oil companies in relation to the grant of OPL 245.

No comments:

Post a comment

Get more stories like this on our twitter @Abdul_Ent and facebook page @abdulkukublogspot