Alleged $1. 1bn Malabu Oil Scam: Court Stops Trial of Adoke Over Deal

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the involvement of former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, in the OPL 245 transactions, commonly referred to as the Malabu Oil deals was in furtherance of the execution of “lawful directives” of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Binta Nyako on Friday, the court agreed with the submissions of Adoke that his involvement in the controversial deal which resulted in the sale of Nigeria’s oil well, OPL 245, was in compliance with his constitutional duties.
In a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in December 2016, Adoke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, and other defendants were accused of fraudulent diversion of $1.1bn in the controversial transaction.
In a reaction to that charge, however, Adoke sued the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, asking the court to declare his trial for the said transaction illegal.
Adoke requested the court to determine whether by virtue of sections 5(1), 147(1), 148(1) and 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution a serving minister can perform the “executive power of federation vested on the president as directed by the president.”
Section 5(1) of the Constitution deals with the executive power of the president and how such powers can be exercise or delegated.
Section 147(1) and 148(1) outlines the duties and responsibilities of ministers and how those responsibilities are exercised in accordance with the wishes of the president while Section 150 (1) specifically deals with the responsibilities of the AGF.
Adoke submitted that his entire involvement in the OPL 245 oil deal was “in full compliance to lawful directives given to him,” by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed a five- count charge of money laundering against the ex-Minister before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Commission claimed Adoke was directly involved in the Malabu deal in which Nigeria lost $1.8bn.
But, in a judgment on Friday, Justice Binta Nyako held that the ex-minister acted on the lawful directives of Jonathan in the exercise of his executive powers as provided in the Constitution.
Justice Nyako said based on her finding that Adoke acted on the ex-President’s directives, he could not be held personally liable for all he did in respect of the matter.
The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/94/446/2017 filed by Adoke, with the AGF as sole defendant.
The Judge resolved all the issues raised in favour of the plaintiff and dismissed the preliminary objection raised against the suit by the defendant.

Author: News Editor

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