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September 20, 2020

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Adoke writes Malami over ‘indictment’ in Italian court

5 min read

A former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Bello Adoke, has written the current AGF, Abubakar Malami, over his ‘indictment’ in the Malabu scandal.

In the letter of complaint dated September 10, which he personally signed, Mr Adoke appealed to Mr Malami to call Nigeria’s lawyer in the trial, Lucio Lucia, “to order”.

In the letter, titled “Letter of Complaint against the Conduct of Mr. Lucio Lucia, Representing the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Milan Proceedings against Shell, Eni and Other Individuals”, Mr Adoke condemned how Mr Lucia presented him as corrupt and partly responsible for fraudulent schemes in the Malabu scandal.

Last week, PREMIUM TIMES reported Mr Lucia presented Nigeria’s position at the ongoing trial of Shell and others by a Milan Court in Italy.

This newspaper reported how Mr Lucia, representing Nigeria at the Milan trial of the oil giants (Shell and ENI) and other individuals for the alleged fraudulent acquisition of the oil licence OPL245, made this submission as Nigeria made its concluding arguments Wednesday.

The lawyer reaffirmed the Nigerian government’s stance on Mr Adoke, ex-petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and former President Goodluck Jonathan in the alleged scam.

Mr Adoke had on Thursday called on the Nigerian government to debrief Mr Lucia.

In a statement issued after Wednesday’s hearing, the former attorney general said Mr Lucia’s conduct was “embarrassing” and reeks of “deliberate falsehood” and “dishonesty.”

Adoke Reacts again

In the statement he personally signed and forwarded to the incumbent AGF, Mr Adoke said Mr Lucia’s account of his return to Nigeria was “bizarre” and “unfounded”.

He wrote: “Mr. Lucio Lucia in his submission before the court on 09/09/2020, on the position of Federal Republic of Nigeria as injured party entitled to civil compensation, had allegedly “reaffirmed the indictment of Mr. Adoke and others in the heist” connection with the OPL 245 Resolution Agreement.

“He proceeded to make other bizarre and unfounded allegations to the effect that I was extradited from Dubai for the corruption related to OPL 245 knowing fully that nothing of sort ever happened and with characteristic audacity, he carelessly reconstructed the evidence on my mortgage transaction with Unity Bank Plc, which is subject of ongoing criminal proceedings in Nigeria to suit his narrative.”

Mr Adoke claimed that apart the OPL 245 Resolution Agreements was a subject of review of two cabinet ministers in the present administration, including Mr Malami and former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu. He added that they did not find him guilty of wrong doing in the scandal.

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“In the light of the above, I am unable to understand why Mr. Lucio Lucia would be allowed to 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 dated April 13, 2018 and the views already expressed by your good self as the sitting Attorney General of the Federation and the former Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources on my role with respect to the implementation of OPL 245 Settlement Agreement”, he wrote.

“As a Nigerian, I am not only entitled to the protection of my Government. I therefore feel compelled to request you to call Mr. Lucio Lucia to order in order to preserve the dignity and respect of your high office as well as prevent my rights from being trampled upon by foreign elements acting in cohort with their Nigerian collaborators.”

Indictment

Last week, Mr Lucia informed the court of “criminal prosecution in Nigeria for these acts against the corrupt, first and foremost the Attorney General Mohammed Adoke Bello, who was accused of receiving illegal compensation in exchange for licensing the oil companies, and thus arrested and extradited from Dubai for the corruption related to OPL 245”.

On the cash transfers to the account of Mr Bello, the lawyer argued that “Adoke Bello buys a property in Abuja from a company of Abubakar at a much lower price than the real one ($4.5 million); and he doesn’t even pay this price. Adoke Bello receives cash payments into his current account of money from Bureau de Change for approximately $2.2 million from 15.2.2012 to 17.10.2013.”

Speaking on alleged constitutional beach of trust and oath of office by officials of the government, the lawyer argued that Mr Adoke and others misused the privilege he had as government official.

“But what did Adoke Bello do in return for his payments? The government that will stipulate RA 2011 starts by confirming the allocation to Malabu and therefore to Etete of 100% of all concession rights for OPL 245.

“The main actors are President GLJ (Goodluck Jonathan), Oil Minister Diezani and AG Adoke Bello, the latter two will sign the 2011 RA together with the Minister of Finance. Adoke Bello, who, in fact, will play a decisive role at the negotiating table, above all in allowing Eni/Shell to have all the contractual clauses, accepted by the IOCs – clauses unilaterally prepared by them – overcoming any objection by NNPC and DPR, the technical bodies of the Ministry of Oil.”

The lawyer also explained that Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) emails make it very clear that Shell and Eni were familiar with the relationship between Mr Etete and the then president, Mr Jonathan, as well as Mr Adoke.

Scandal

The Malabu OPL245 scandal is a subject of corruption trial in Italy and Nigeria.

However, all the accused in both the Milan and Nigerian trials have denied the charges against them.

The Nigerian authorities have also charged Mr Etete and several others linked to Malabu with money laundering in connection with the onward flow of funds from the OPL245 deal.

President Goodluck Jonathan and other officials alleged to have been involved in the deal have equally denied any wrongdoing.

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