Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has described as witch-hunting, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charge against him over his alleged involvement in a $1.1billion Malabu Oil Block deal.
The EFCC had on Tuesday filed fresh charges against former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, Adoke and Abubakar Aliyu, for their involvement in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.
In the charges filed before the Federal High Court Abuja, EFCC alleged, among other things, that Adoke and former Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, approved the transfer of about $1.1 billion into Nigerian accounts controlled by Mr. Etete. The money was said to have been paid by major oil firms, Shell and ENI, but was transferred to accounts run by Aliyu after the initial transfer to Etete.
The former AGF, however, faulted the charge against him in a statement on Wednesday, arguing that EFCC was irrational. He added that he was ever ready to appear before any court to defend himself at any time.
While reiterating that he never benefit in any form from the auctioning of the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 (OPL 245) referred to by many as Malabu Oil Block, he said everything he did in the said deal was with the approval of the Federal Government under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“My attention has been drawn to the charges filed by the EFCC against me and other named individuals and companies in respect of OPL 245 Settlement Agreement involving Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited.
“The charge of aiding the commission of money laundering offences preferred against me has finally confirmed the orchestrated plans to bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on revenge mission.
“I wish to reiterate that I acted within the actual and ostensible authority of the office I occupied to broker a settlement between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited in order to ward off the over $2billion liability in damages for breach of contract which the country would have been exposed to in the likely event of the success of Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited’s claim before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
“The terms of settlement ensured that the interests of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited were duly acknowledged and provided for in the settlement agreement.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria was entitled to the Signature bonus which was duly paid; Malabu Oil & Gas Limited surrendered its title to OPL 245 for a consideration and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited was re-allocated OPL 245 which it had previously substantially de-risked in consideration for withdrawing their over $ 2billion claim for breach of contract against the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the statement read.