The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja yesterday granted the application of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to detain erstwhile Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), for 14 more days preparatory to his arraignment.
In granting the application, the judge, Justice A.O. Musa stated that “the extension of the remand of the respondent for another 14 days for the purpose of his arraignment in court is necessary and granted as prayed.”
Justice Musa, consequently, adjourned the suit to enable its assignment by the Chief Judge.
The anti-graft agency took custody of Adoke on December 19, 2019, upon his arrival from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The ex-minister, who fled the country in 2015, has pending criminal charge of alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 granted to Shell and ENI.
The government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had revoked the facility awarded by the late General Sani Abacha to his then Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO).
But Etete’s Malabu Oil and Gas, however, reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court. While Shell challenged the decision, a “resolution” was consummated under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, with Shell and ENI buying the facility from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.
Investigations by the EFCC into the deal revealed “crimes that border on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion against Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) and their officials”, culminating in criminal charges against Adoke, Etete and others in both the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The absence of the defendants slowed the prosecution of the case, forcing the commission to obtain an arrest warrant against them on April 17, 2019.