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Malabu: Adoke calls for debriefing of Nigeria’s lawyers over contradiction in court

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Our Reporter

Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Mohammed Adoke, SAN, has called on the Federal Government to debrief its counsel in the ongoing hearing of corruption allegations surrounding the sale of Oil Processing License 245, otherwise known as Malabu Oil, by a Milan Court in Italy.

Adoke premised the call on what he described as “deliberate and malicious falsehoods”, the lawyer, Mr Lucio Lucia, has continued to present before the Milan Court in arguing the case of the Federal Government.

Adoke’s grouse was that despite being given a clean bill of health in the Malabu debacle by competent court in Nigeria as well as the Federal Government, Nigeria’s lawyer in the suit in Italy has continued to rope him in and paint him as corrupt.

Shell, Eni and some individuals are currently facing trial at the Milan Court in Italy over their alleged complicity in the OPL 245 transaction, that allegedly shortchanged Nigeria some billions of dollars.

Although Adoke, who is not a party in the ongoing trial in a statement made available to reporters, said he has been following the proceedings ”with keen interest to ensure that no adverse findings of criminal misconduct are made against my person”.

Rationalising grounds for the sack of Lucia, the former AGF said, the counsel in his submission before the Court on September 9, 2020, while representing the interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria as the injured party entitled to civil compensation, had allegedly “reaffirmed the indictment of Mr Adoke and others in the heist” in connection with the OPL 245 Resolution Agreement.

“Let me reiterate for the umpteenth time that my official role as Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in the implementation of OPL 245 Settlement Agreement has been the subject of judicial pronouncement by the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice BFN Nyako.

Justice Nyako amongst other things had held that, “The Plaintiff cannot be held personally liable for carrying out the lawfulapprovals of the President while he served as a Minister of the Government of the Federation.”

Adoke further stated that two cabinet ministers in the present administration, the present Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, and former Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu had at different times reviewed the OPL 245 Resolution Agreements and exonerated him of any wrong doing.

Kachikwu had “in his letter to the Chief of Staff to the President, dated December 13, 2017,came to the reasoned conclusion that the agreements were in the national interest”.

“In the light of the above, it is clear that Mr. Lucio Lucia cannot assert on behalf of the same Federal Government of Nigeria a position that is contrary to the unassailable declarations in the subsisting judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and the views already expressed by the sitting Attorney-General of the Federation and the former Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources”, he added.

Adoke claimed that Lucia also lied to the court that he was extradited from Dubai for corruption related to OPL 245, knowing fully that nothing of sort ever happened.

“Mr. Lucio Lucia, with defamatory audacity, also carelessly reconstructed the evidence on my Mortgage transaction with Unity Bank to suit his narrative. This is a subject of criminal proceedings in Nigeria and, for now, I will not be able to comment against the twisting and manipulation of the facts of the failed mortgage transaction because it will be subjudicial.

“Finally, while I am not adverse to the Federal Government’s claims before the Milan Court, I am concerned that Mr. Lucio Lucia has been allowed to present to the court deliberate false statements against me in support of Federal Government’s case. I am still in possession of copies of letters by Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, and Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in his capacity as the Hon. Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, clearing me of any misconduct or misdeed in the OPL 245 transaction.”

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