The anti-graft agency, EFCC, has denied dropping charges of money laundering against a former attorney-general of the federation, Mohammed Adoke.
The EFCC in January filed corruption charges against Mr Adoke in two separate courts.
The charges included money laundering, denying Nigeria taxes and an alleged N300 million bribe.
Mr Adoke is standing trial alongside a controversial businessman, Abubakar Aliyu, for allegedly benefitting from the controversial $1.1 Malabu Oil deal.
The former AGF has since been released on bail.
However, there had been media reports that the commission had dropped charges against Mr Adoke.
The rumours were linked to the arraignment of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Aliyu Abubakar and five companies allegedly involved in money laundering charges before Justice Ekwo on Wednesday
In the suit Number: FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016, Mr Adoke’s name was missing.
The companies listed in the charge are A-Group Construction Company Limited, Rocky Top Resources Limited, Mega-Tech Engineering Limited, Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, and Carlin International Nigeria Limited.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, the EFCC said the charge emanated from a subsisting case between Malabu Oil & Gas and others, ”that did not involve the former AGF”.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to some media reports claiming that the Commission has dropped charges of money laundering against former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
“The EFCC wishes to make it abundantly clear that, Mr Adoke is standing trial in two separate courts: Federal High Court, Abuja before Justice Inyang Ekwo in Suit Number: FHC/ABJ/CR/39/2017 and FCT High Court, Gwagwalada before Justice Idris Kutigi in Suit Number: FCT/CR/151/2020.
“He was re-arraigned alongside an Abuja-based businessman, Aliyu Abubakar before Justice Ekwo on June 17, 2020, on seven-count charges, bordering on money laundering. The re-arraignment was occasioned by the transfer of the case from Justice Binta Nyako, before whom he was originally arraigned on February 8, 2020. Adoke was equally arraigned before Justice Kutigi alongside others on January 23, 2020, on 42-count charges bordering on the Malabu Oil scam.
“There is another subsisting case involving Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Aliyu Abubakar and five companies allegedly involved in money laundering charges before Justice Ekwo. They were arraigned on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Suit Number: FHC/ABJ/CR/268/2016.”
In the statement, the EFCC reacted to the ‘removal’ of Mr Adoke’s name from the ‘Wanted Persons’ list of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol).
The anti-graft agency described it as unnecessary and misleading “since he had been arrested and facing trial already in Nigeria.”
“A suspect cannot be on a ‘Wanted Persons’ List” and be facing trial in court at the same time.
“The EFCC wishes to reiterate its commitment to global best practices in its operations and would not be distracted from its assigned mandate of ridding the nation of all forms of economic and financial crimes.”
The EFCC has been after Mr Adoke for his role in the controversial Malabu oil scandal regarding the controversial sale of Nigeria’s OPL 245 oil field.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how almost half of the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni in a controversial OPL 245 deal brokered by Mr Adoke ended in accounts controlled by Mr Aliyu.
The oil multinationals paid the money through the Nigerian government to Malabu, a company then controlled by Dan Etete, a former petroleum minister who is on the run.
Malabu, which was illegally awarded OPL 245 when Mr Etete was minister in 1998, then transferred about half of the money into accounts partly controlled by Mr Aliyu.
Mr Aliyu is believed to have shared the money to top officials of Shell and Eni as well as officials of the Jonathan administration.
Shell, Eni and their officials are already being prosecuted in Italy for the scandal.
Mr Adoke has always denied any wrongdoing. He said he acted professionally on the instructions of the former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
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