*As judge returns case file to CJ
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Move by a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke SAN, to secure bail suffered a setback on Tuesday following the decision of the trial judge, Justice Othman Musa to return the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Justice Musa’s action was predicated on his inability to conclude hearing in the bail application Tuesday.
Adoke’s application was assigned to Justice Musa being a vacation judge, but following the end of vacation on January 3, 2020, he explained that he had to return the case file to the Chief Judge of the FCT for reassignment to another Judge.
Musa had commenced hearing in Adoke’s bail application but had to oblige Adoke’s request for adjournedment to enable him respond to the counter affidavit of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against his motion.
When the matter was called, Adoke’s lawyer, Benson Igbanoi, informed the court that he would not be able to move the bail application because the prosecution just served him with its preliminary objection.
“This morning, we were served with a counter affidavit to our motion filed on December 23,” he said.
“By reason of the facts raised in the counter affidavit which call for further affidavits and also a need for reply on point of law, we are therefore constrained to ask for a short adjournment to enable us to respond accordingly,” he prayed.
Responding, prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga, reminded the court that there was an existing order permitting the EFCC to detain Adoke for 14 days.
He said the order, which was granted on December 20, would expire on January 2, 2020.
Musa had earlier granted EFCC an order, seeking to hold the former minister in its custody for 14 days.
The order was to enable the anti-graft agency conclude its investigation on Adoke over corruption allegations.
The EFCC had filed criminal charges against Adoke over his alleged indictment in the Oil Prospective Licence OPL 245.
Adoke was in self exile for four years when the criminal charges were slammed on him by the federal government.
Upon his return to the country two weeks ago, the EFCC had secured a court order from Justice Musa to detain him for 14 days to enable the anti-graft agency complete it’s investigation in the level of his involvement in the alleged Malabu oil scandal.
EFCC had in 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others, including Adoke and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
EFCC in the suit marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17, accused the defendants of fraudulently allocating the Oil Prospecting Licence 245, otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
They were also accused of other forms of offences to the tune of about $1.2billion, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
The alleged $1.2 billion scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245, purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.