A former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), has urged the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Jabi, Abuja, to restrain the police and the Department of State Services, representing the Federal Government, from enforcing a fresh warrant of arrest issued against him on April 29, 2019.
Adoke made this plea in an ex parte application filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on June 19, 2019.
The application has been scheduled for hearing before Justice Danladi Senchi on Monday (today July 1).
The judge had initially on April 17, 2019 issued an arrest warrant on Adoke, and other five suspects named in the charges bordering on the $2.1bn Malabu Oil scam.
He had issued the order based on an ex parte application by the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
While moving the application for the initial arrest warrant, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, urged the court to issue the order of arrest to enable the commission to apprehend the Malabu Oil suspects and bring them before the court for arraignment on the charges instituted against them since 2016.
Yusuf noted that apart from the charges pending in the court, there were other two sets pending against them before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to the EFCC, the charges bordered on fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and money laundering involving the sum of about $1.2bn, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
Adoke has been living outside Nigeria since 2015, when the President Goodluck Jonathan administration that he served as the AGF left office.
The prosecution has not been able to apprehend the former minister and the rest of the suspects since 2016 when the charges were instituted against them.
Apart from Adoke, others affected by the court’s arrest warrant were a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, Raph Wezels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno and Burrato Sebastino, and Aliyu Abubakar.
But Adoke, on April 23, 2019, through his lawyer, filed an application urging the court to set aside the said arrest warrant on the grounds that it was issued against him “without jurisdiction and should to be set aside”.
In his ex parte application filed before the same Justice Senchi on June 26, 2019, Adoke complained that the trio of the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Interpol, and the DSS, had gone ahead to issue a fresh arrest warrant against him on June 29, despite his motion on notice dated April 24, 2019, challenging the earlier warrant of arrest issued against him by the court.
“The warrant of arrest issued against the applicant by the respondents infringes upon the fundamental rights of the applicant,” part of the grounds of the application read.
The applicant, therefore, prayed for “An interim order of injunction restraining the respondents… from arresting or detaining, or from further directing the arrest and detention or doing any other act or from continuing to do any other act that is tantamount to self-help or keeping in their custody of the applicant, on the basis of the fresh warrant of arrest issued on of April 29, 2019, against the applicant, at the behest of the respondents (representing the Federal Government of Nigeria)…”
The applicant sought as an alternative prayer, an order directing parties “to maintain status quo ante bellum as of April 16, 2019, pending the hearing and final determination of the notice of application filed along with this application.”
The alleged $1.2bn scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.