Adoke Asks Court to Set Aside Bench Warrant

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Mohammed Adoke

Davidson Iriekpen

Former Attorney General of the Federal (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, has asked a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja to set aside the bench warrant it issued for his arrest over the Malabu Oil deal.

The court had issued a warrant of arrest against Adoke over the controversial OPL 245 deal executed by the federal government in 2011.

The court granted the order based on a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

But Adoke has asked the court to set aside the order and strike out his name as a defendant in Charge No FCT/HC/CR/124/17 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others pending before the court.

He contended that the bench warrant was issued without jurisdiction and in breach of his judgment to fair hearing as guaranteed under the 36 (1) of Constitution.

The former AGF said he was neither served Charge No FCT/HC/CR/124/17, nor any proof of evidence in respect of the criminal charge pending before the court.

He stated that in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/446/2017 he secured a judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja against the AGF representing the Federal Republic of Nigeria wherein he was exculpated with respect to the same facts and circumstances over which he was erroneously charged and the basis upon which the bench warrant was issued against him.

Adoke through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, also contended that the exparte application for the bench warrant against him was obtained upon gross misstatements, misrepresentation, concealment and suppression of the material facts.

He concluded where a court of law makes a void order, it reserves the right and power to set it aside.

Recall that in 2017, the EFCC filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Eni Spa, Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastiano, Duazia Louya Etete (aka Dan Etete), Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.

While the charge was pending, Adoke went to court to challenge it. In her judgment, Justice Binta Nyako exonerated him, submitting that all that Adoke executed relating to Malabu Oil deal were based on presidential directives.

The held that since Adoke was an aide of the president, he cannot be held liable for the official assignment given to him. But surprisingly last Wednesday, EFCC’s counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, brought a motion exparte before the FCT High Court praying for a warrant of their arrest, and an order for leave to execute the warrant outside of the jurisdiction of the court.

Justice D. Z. Senchi of the FCT High Court, after listening to the application, issued a warrant of arrest against Adoke over the controversial OPL 245 deal executed by the federal government in 2011.

The court also granted its prayers for a warrant of arrest against Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum.

Also declared wanted were Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, and Burrato Sebastiano.

Justice Senchi ruled that the Nigeria Police, the INTERPOL and any other law enforcement agency should arrest them anywhere they are found.