By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The arraignment of former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Bello Adoke, and six others at an Abuja High Court was Wednesday stalled due to the failure of the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to serve court processes on the fourth respondent in the suit.
Adoke and the other respondents were to be arraigned on a fresh 42-count charge over their alleged complicity in the $1.1bn Malabu oil deal.
In the fresh charge with number CR/151/2020, filed at an Abuja High Court, the federal government is alleging that Adoke and other respondents received gratification to carry out a fraudulent oil deal.
Other respondents are Rasky Gbinigie, Aliu Abubakar, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Limited.
However, when the case was called, the fourth respondent, Malabu Oil, was not represented by a lawyer, a representative of the company said the lawyer to the fourth respondent was not in court because he was not aware that the matter was coming up Wednesday.
When asked if the fourth respondent was served, he said he could not tell. However, the counsel to the EFCC, Bala Sanga, however informed the court that the fourth defendant was yet to be served.
Following the non-service on the fourth respondent, the trial judge, Justice Idris Kutigi, adjourned till Thursday to enable service on the fourth respondent.
Justice Kutigi declined to go on with the arraignment in spite of the plea by lawyers representing Adoke and others.