A Federal Capital Territory High Court on Friday dismissed an order it earlier made for the arrest of a former justice minister, Bello Adoke.
The court in a ruling on Friday agreed with the arguments of Mr Adoke’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, that the warrant of arrest earlier issued against Mr Adoke was procured wrongfully.
Justice Zanchi had in April issued an order for the arrest of Mr Adoke, a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, and others allegedly involved in the controversial Malabu scandal, following an ‘ex-parte’ request made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
An ‘ex-parte’ request is one made in the absence of the other parties to a suit.
In a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Friday night, Mr Ozekhome explained the reason for the judge’s decision.
“Mohammed Bello Adoke is my client. He was declared wanted based on an ex-parte application by EFCC.
“I was able to explain to the court that the order breached my client’s right to a fair hearing. That no criminal charge had ever been served on him to warrant him been wanted for evading trial and that the order was made without full disclosure by the EFCC regarding the entire facts concerning Adoke especially that he had been acquitted in this same charges by another federal high court presided by Justice Nyako.
“The court delivered judgement and agreed with me that the warrant of arrest was procured wrongfully,” Mr Ozekhome said.
The EFCC had since 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Eni Spa, Raph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, Burrato Sebastiano, Duazia Louya Etete (aka Dan Etete), Mr Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
They are alleged to complicit in the laundering and diversion of $1. 2 billion paid by oil giants, Shell and Eni, through the Nigerian government to Malabu, a company controlled by Mr Etete.
The money was for the control of an oil block, OPL 245, awarded to Malabu in 1998 when Mr Etete was Nigeria’s petroleum minister.
The EFCC, however, says the case has stalled because it has not been able to file charges against Mr Adoke who is on self-exile abroad.
Mr Adoke has denied any wrongdoing and alleged persecution by the EFCC.