The anti-graft agency, EFCC, says it now has a former justice minister, Mohammed Adoke, in its custody.
Mr Adoke returned to Nigeria on Thursday from Dubai, where he was arrested, after about four years on self imposed exile.
He was on arrival in Abuja arrested by officials of Interpol at the request of the EFCC.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC said Mr Adoke “who fled the country in 2015, has pending criminal charge brought against him by the EFCC for alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.”
Mr Adoke has denied any wrongdoing in the OPL 245 scandal for which Shell, Eni and their top officials are being prosecuted in Italy.
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The controversial OPL 245 agreements for which Shell and Eni paid about $1.1 billion was mediated by Mr Adoke while in office as Nigeria’s attorney-general.
Read the full EFCC statement below.
Adoke Now with EFCC
Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, arrived Nigeria today, Thursday December 19, 2019 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates into the waiting arm of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Adoke who fled the country in 2015, has pending criminal charge brought against him by the EFCC for alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.
It would be recalled that the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted Dan Etete, his then Petroleum Minister, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.
Etete’s Malabu Oil and Gas, however, reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court. While Shell challenged the decision, a ‘fraudulent settlement and resolution’ was consummated under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, with Shell and ENI buying the oil block from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.
Investigations by the EFCC into the deal revealed crimes that border on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion against Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) and their officials, culminating in criminal charges against Adoke, Etete and others, which are pending at both the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court, Abuja
The absence of the defendants slowed the prosecution of the criminal charges against Adoke, Etete, and four others, forcing the EFCC to obtain an arrest warrant against them on April 17, 2019.
Though Justice D. Z. Senchi of Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja on Friday, October 25, 2019, vacated the arrest warrant and ordered the EFCC to serve defendants through substituted means, the Interpol on November 18, arrested the former minister in Dubai.
His return to Nigeria clears the way for him to answer to the charges against him.
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