The Federal Government on Monday approached Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking guidance on whether to issue an arrest warrant against the immediate past Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke.
The EFCC had in December 2016, charged nine suspects, including Adoke over the issue. Adoke was accused of illegally transferring more than $800 million purportedly meant for the purchase of the Oil Prospecting License 245 to Etete and Malabu Oil and Gas Company. Similarly, the Federal Government had also on March 2, 2017, filed fresh charges against two multinational oil giants, Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited, for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1 billion scandal.
Others charged along-side the two oil giants are former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke; former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete; Aliyu Abubakar, ENI SPA, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
Count one: statement of offence Conspiracy contrary to Section 26 of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act. At Monday’s proceedings, counsel to the Federal government, Mr. Johnson Ojogbane told the court that the government was experiencing some difficulties in serving Adoke since he is outside the jurisdiction of the court. Ojogbane said: ” I would like to request for a warrant of arrest of the first defendant (Adoke). I will appreciate if My Lord will guide me because I actually wanted to make an application for a warrant of arrest. I also want the court to guide me on whether I can do that orally or come by way of a motion.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has the power to arrest anybody anywhere but when the person is not within the jurisdiction of the court, (outside the country) it becomes difficult” Ojogbane added. The prosecuting counsel also told the court that if the order seeking to arrest Adoke is granted, it would become easier for the security agents to liaise with the International Police (InterPol) to initiate extradition moves.
After listening to the counsel, Justice Tsoho told the FG to make a proper application before the court, adding that such applications are not done orally. The judge also said that if Adoke was already arraigned before the court and was attempting to escape, it would have been proper to issue such a warrant. ”
Once a person has been arraigned before a court and he is attempting to escape, then it becomes necessary to issue a warrant of arrest; but in this case, Adoke has not been arraigned before this court. The matter is still at the investigative stage so such an order is not necessary” Justice Tsoho held.