Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, has accused Italian prosecutors of fabricating evidence against him in the OPL 245 trial in Milan in order to nail accused persons.
The controversial OPL 245 deal involved the payment of $1.3 billion by Royal Dutch Shell and Eni for an oil block owned by Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011.
The Italian prosecutors had alleged that about $1.1 billion of the sum was given as bribe to politicians and intermediaries.
On Wednesday, they asked a Milan Court to accept two emails sent to Italy by UK authorities.
According to the prosecutors, the first email, detailing copies of the resolution agreement in respect of the acquisition of OPL 245, was sent by Adoke to JPMorgan from the email address of a company owned by Aliyu Abubakar, a Nigerian business mogul who allegedly shared the said bribe — an allegation he denies.
Abubakar is on trial in Italy.
But in a statement issued yesterday, Adoke said the Italian prosecutors are fabricating evidence against him.
The former AGF described the development as a “wicked lie” which seeks to establish a link between him and Abubakar.
“I have read with dismay reports of the attempt by the Italian prosecutor to tender fabricated evidence concerning me in the on-going OPL 245 proceedings before a Milan court to which I am not a party,” the statement reads.
“I wish to categorically declare that the so-called email is a figment of imagination of the Italian prosecutors as I had no reason whatsoever to use the email of a company belonging to Aliyu Ababakar, or indeed any other company, to transact government business.
“The Italian prosecutors are thus engaged in their usual antics of fabricating evidence in order to secure the conviction of those standing trial at all cost, knowing fully well that I am not a party to the proceedings and therefore have no opportunity, on the record, to counter and expose their illegalities. This is not only reprehensible, but unethical.”
The former AGF restated his allegations that the Italian prosecutors, led by Fabio De Pasquale, are trying to indict him during the trial.
He said the prosecutors are “determined to use any means necessary to ensure my indictment on the records”.
Adoke contended that he implemented the Malabu deal in the best interest of the country, stressing that he would continue to expose the “lies” of the Italian prosecutors.
“It should be noted that despite the testimony of the Russian Diplomat to the effect that he was being pressured to indict me and another testimony of a named official of ENI that I had warned the parties to the negotiations leading to the acquisition of OPL 245 to eschew corruption, the Italian Prosecutors are determined to use any means necessary to ensure my indictment on the records,” it reads.
“It will be recalled that the same prosecutors had sought to tender a fake telephone recording of a conversation purportedly between me and an imaginary reporter that only existed in their world just to indict me.
“I therefore wish to draw attention to these antics of the Italian prosecutors and once more reiterate my position that I discharged my responsibilities as Attorney General of the Federation in the implementation of the OPL 245 resolution agreement in the national interest and in accordance with the directives and approvals of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“They can continue to desperately manufacture evidence and concoct lies as they please, but they should leave my name out of their machinations. Let it be known to them that I will not stop exposing their lies against me until justice is done.”