Denies ownership of N700m Abuja property
By Alex Enumah
A former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), has indicated his intention to commence legal action against an Italian prosecutor, Dr. Sergio Spadaro, for linking him with the Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 scam, otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
Adoke in a statement issued by his solicitors in the United Kingdom, specifically accused the prosecutor of engaging in deliberate lies in order to implicate him in the ongoing criminal trial of Shell and ENI in Milan, Italy.
In the statement issued by one Femi Oboro of GROMYKO AMEDU Solicitors in London, the former AGF also denied ownership of a property in Abuja which the prosecutor had claimed was purchased with his (Adoke) alleged share from the Malabu Oil deal.
In the statement titled, “The Many Lies of the Milan Prosecutor,” Oboro stated that, “although, our client is not on trial in Italy, it would appear the Italian prosecutors, in their bid to get Shell and ENI convicted, no longer have any regard for the truth and are ready to destroy anyone just to achieve their aim”.
The statement noted that Spadaro in his submissions to the court, on July 2, was mischievous when he said that a property valued at N700 million was sold to Adoke by Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, owner of Carlin International Nigeria Ltd, for N500 million.
“He also said our client paid only N300 million with a mortgage from Unity Bank for the property. He said the difference of N200 million was a gift to our client, suggesting that it was a proceed of crime. It is our client’s contention that these allegations are completely false. The facts have been twisted and material facts have been hidden from the court in the most unprofessional manner.”
Oboro explained that Adoke had obtained a mortgage of N300million to purchase the property which was offered to him for N500 million but the deal could not sail through because he could not raise the balance of N200 million.
“However, as the Italian prosecutors also discovered in their forensic investigation, our client could not come up with the N200 million equity contribution to Carlin International Nigeria Ltd. Indeed, he had to pay interests and penalties on the mortgage because it was not performing.
“With our client’s inability to pay, Carlin International Nigeria Ltd sold the property to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and refunded the N300 million mortgage to Unity Bank.
“Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar then retrieved the Certificate of Occupancy from Unity Bank and our client’s mortgage account was closed. Most of the facts were confirmed by the prosecution witness, Mr. Ferri Alessandro, in the Milan court.
“To our client’s surprise, the Italian prosecutors, led by Dr Fabio De Pasquale, continue to create the false impression that the property belongs to him, thereby concealing the material fact that he never took possession of the house. This lie has now been repeated by Spadaro. This is very unprofessional. Our client has instructed us as his lawyers to report them to the Italian bar for professional misconduct”, the statement read.
The statement however alleged that the Italian prosecutor, is not in this alone but has a Nigerian collaborator in the person of Mr. Olanrewaju Siraj, a human rights activist and anti-corruption campaigner in Nigeria.
Adoke while handing over Siraj to God for judgment however said his consolation in all the mischief by the Italian prosecutors is that they at least agreed that he took N300 million mortgage from Unity Bank and that the money was eventually returned to the bank.
“This fact is very important because the impression that mischief makers have been creating about him is that the N300 million was a kickback in the OPL 245 deal. The Italian prosecutors have now documented with the Milan court that, indeed, the N300 million was a mortgage from Unity Bank. They have also acknowledged that he paid interest on the mortgage. They have further acknowledged that the N300 million was returned to the bank”, the statement read, adding that ownership of the property in question is not difficult to prove since the owner, CBN, is a government institution.
Adoke also expressed thanks to the Italians for, “their gradual backhanded exoneration of his name, which they have been maligning globally since 2015”.