A FORMER Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, may have been questioned in Netherlands where he is currently a student in a university.Prosecutors in that country were said to have opened a case on him following assistance sought by a third party.
The exact time of the questioning is not known, but it was learnt in Abuja that the Dutch authorities questioned him based on documents passed on to them by Italian investigators who are looking into the Malabu oil deal based on the involvement of an Italian oil company, ENI.A source confided in The Guardian that the Italians have a “huge file” on the matter, and have shared information once they found out he was in Netherlands. “They told us that they have already visited him once. He was not arrested but they have had a meeting with him already.’’ It was gathered that government was also looking at all those who got monies in foreign currencies transferred to their private accounts shortly after the settlement was arrived at.
The source was clear that a particular dramatis persona involved in all the transactions was not a direct beneficiary because “nothing was found” to have been paid directly to him; but government, it is believed, is looking into some of the shell companies established within the period that “certain proceeds” were paid into.
“I must tell you that this particular person was smart. We didn’t find anything on him even though he shared what came out of it. He used fronts – shell companies – so it is taking more time to track anything to him. Those already fingered in collecting money include two former ministers and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. They were said to have got $10 million dollars each,” the source added.
Yesterday, many of those contacted did not want to be drawn into the Malabu oil deal, even within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that is anchoring the investigations. EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached, even on his phone line.
Pointing accusing fingers in the direction of a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and members of the family of the late Gen. Sani Abacha as those seeking to use the EFCC to humiliate him, Adoke wrote to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to exonerate himself from any wrong doing, while explaining how the Malabu imbroglio was resolved.
But media adviser to Atiku, Mazi Paul Ibeto, said that his boss did not have a hand in the travails of the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
“The Turaki Adamawa advises Adoke and others so invited to focus on clearing their names instead of dragging innocent people into the fray,” he said.
According to Adoke, his letter, dated the last day of last year and leaked in Abuja last week, became necessary in order to set the records straight in view of the “spurious allegations, mischievous and misleading publications on the subject matter in the media (particularly the online media).”
Adoke laid bare the facts he had to Osinbajo, noting that he explained in detail the history of the transaction, trusting that he (Osinbajo) was in a better position as a one-time Attorney General of Lagos State and the current vice president to objectively appraise the situation and brief President Muhammadu Buhari truthfully so as to discourage the lies being peddled by mischief makers.
“This will not only bring my persecution to an end,” he wrote, “but also protect the institution that the exalted office of the Attorney General of the Federation represents as well as guarantee its independence and prevent its destruction on the altar of political expediency.”
Noting that he was not unmindful of the need for public officers to be held accountable for their service, Adoke observed that if Shell and or ENI had infracted on the laws of their home countries either by non-disclosure and or tax evasion, the duty of government was to assist their home governments if requested to ascertain the truth, but not to “undeservedly criminalise our public office holders to satisfy the narrow and selfish interest of shareholders fighting over assets of their company.”
He wrote further: “Your Excellency may please note that except for those whose sole intentions are to denigrate and impugn my integrity for resisting attempts to use the Office of the HAGF to further narrow selfish business interests, the transaction aforementioned was legitimate, transparent and well documented, and above all, self- explanatory. I trust therefore that this brief will afford you the opportunity to dispassionately examine the records and come to a fair and just assessment of the matter.”
Culled from The Guardian