The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) an order to detain former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), for 14 days.
The former AGF, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan between 2010 and 2015, was arrested by operatives of the International Police Organisation (Interpol) on Thursday upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Adoke, who had been on a self-imposed exile since 2015 after the Jonathan administration was ousted by the All Progressives Congress (APC), arrived from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he was arrested by Interpol on November 11.
He was later on Thursday handed over to the EFCC by the Interpol. He is currently being held at the Abuja zonal office of the commission at Wise II in Abuja.
EFCC, through its counsel, Ms Fatima Mustapha, approached the court, praying for an order to detain the former minister in its custody for 14 days.
According to the commission, the order being sought was to enable it conclude its investigation on Adoke over corruption allegations on the controversial Malabu oil.
After listening to the exparte application moved by the counsel for EFCC, Justice Musa granted the commission a 14-day detention order.
EFCC had in 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others, including Adoke; a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited before Justice Danladi Senchi of the FCT High Court.
The anti-graft agency had in the suit marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17 accused the defendants of fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245, popularly known as Malabu Oil.
They were also accused of other forms of offences involving the sum of about $1.2 billion, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
The alleged $1.2 billion scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited belonging to Etete to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
A report submitted to EFCC last year by a Canada-based extractive industry analyst and President, Resource for Development Consulting, Dr Don Hubert, indicated that operators of the controversial oil block took away oil profit to the tune of $6 billion from the Federal Government and the Nigerian people.
The OPL 245 is said to be one of the biggest sources of untapped oil reserves on the African continent with reserves estimated at nine billion barrels.
Italian oil company, Eni, the biggest foreign oil producer in Africa, has been doing business in Nigeria since 1963, while Anglo-Dutch company, Shell, is the biggest foreign investor in the country.
Hubert’s report analysed the terms and conditions for the sale of the controversial Malabu Oil Block to Shell and Eni.
The report pointed that at least one third of the value of the block, which comes from fiscal concessions in 2011 Resolution Agreement (RA) between Nigeria and Shell and Eni, essentially takes away oil profit from Federal Government and Nigerians.
The analyst stated that the result of his findings indicated an estimated minimum loss of $4.5 billion as a result of the 2011 deal.
“The 2011 RA will result in the loss of revenue to the Nigerian people and government to the tune of at least $4.5 billion.
“The reason for the losses is the core relevant of a production sharing contract, the share of profit to the government has been removed from this particular deal,” Hubert stated.
“As it stands today, Nigeria will lose between $6 billion and $10 billion to the deal, which is now being investigated outside Nigeria,” he added.
Both Shell and Eni are embroiled in a long-running corruption case revolving around the 2011 purchase of the OPL 245 for about $1.3 billion.
Although officials of the companies have consistently denied any wrongdoing, top executives of the two companies are facing trial in an Italian court in Milan over alleged corruption in the controversial Malabu scandal.
Eni Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Claudio Descalzi and four ex-Shell managers, including former Shell Foundation Chairman, Malcolm Brinded, are facing charges in the Milan court over the scandal.
Italian prosecutors alleged that $1.1 billion from the deal was not remitted to the Nigerian government coffers. The money was alleged to have gone into accounts said to belong to Etete.
On Thursday, September 20, 2018, a Nigerian, Emeka Obi and an Italian, Gialluca Di Nardo, were found guilty by the Milan court of international corruption and sentenced to four years each in prison.
The court also ordered the seizure of $98.4 million from Obi and more than 22 million Swiss francs ($21.9million) from Di Nardo.