Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Abubakar Kutigi of an Abuja High Court sitting in Gwagwalada area of Abuja, yesterday ordered the remand of former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), pending the hearing and determination of their bail applications.
Justice Kutigi ordered their remand with the EFCC shortly after the defendants pleaded not guilty to allegations of crime against them by the federal government.
Adoke and his co-defendants were yesterday formerly arraigned before Justice Kutigi on a 42-count charge of fraud, criminal breach of trust amongst others.
However, they pleaded not guilty to all the charges
The others are: Mr. Aliu Abubakar; Mr. Rasky Gbinigie, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Ultra Deep Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Limited.
Following their plea of not guilty, prosecution counsel, Mr. Bala Sanga, prayed the court to order the remand of the defendants in a correctional centre pending the commencement of trial. Sanga also prayed the court for a date for the commencement of trial.
However, counsel to the first to third defendants drew the court’s attention to the individual bail applications filed on behalf of their clients, urging the court to hear the applications with a view to admitting the defendants to bail.
However, prosecution counsel opposed the request on the grounds that the applications were premature, adding that, he was only served copies of the individual applications yesterday and as such would need time to prepare and file his counter motions to the bail.
“Bail application is premature; I need time to file necessary counter”, Sanga said.
However Adoke’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), citing the failing health of Adoke which according to him is being managed by the EFCC, prayed the court to return the first defendant to EFCC custody instead of correctional centre.
Lawyers to the second and third defendants, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Mr. Mahmoud Magaji (SAN), however aligned themselves with the request of Ozekhome and urged the court to keep their clients with the EFCC pending the hearing of their bail application.
Justice Kutigi in a short ruling granted the request as prayed and fixed Monday January 27 for hearing of the bail applications.
In the charge with number CR/151/2020, the federal government is alleging that Adoke and other respondents received gratification to carry out a fraudulent oil deal.
Adoke was alleged to have in August 2013 in Abuja while serving as a minister knowingly received United States Dollars equivalent of N300million, which is reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully obtained and thereby committed offence punishable under Section 319A of the Penal Code, Cap. 532 Laws of the federation of Nigeria 1990.
Another defendant, Mr. Rasky Gbinigie was accused of conspiring with one Munamuna Seidougha (at large), Amaran Joseph (at large) and Dauzia Etete (at large), sometime in 2013, in Abuja, to dishonestly used as genuine the forged form CAC 7 and Board Resolution of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and the letter of resignation of one Mohammed Sani to open a Bank Account No. 2018288005 with one of the commercial banks to receive the sum of $401,540,000.00.