The Nigerian Police have submitted a case file to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recommending the prosecution of Olanrewaju Suraju, the Chairman of HEDA, an anti-corruption organisation.
The police recently said a report accusing Mr Suraju of peddling falsehood against a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, is not fake.
HEDA had claimed its findings indicated the report did not emanate from the police.
But a top official of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit, the police unit which issued the document, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the document was produced by the leadership of his team.
Mr Adoke, one of those the EFCC is prosecuting for alleged fraud in connection with the OPL 245 saga, popularly referred to as the Malabu scandal, had petitioned the police accusing some unnamed persons of circulating fabricated evidence against him to unduly incriminating him.
The former attorney-general said an e-mail submitted to a court in Italy was never written by him as claimed just like the tape of a purported interview he granted an Italian journalist.
Mr Adoke asked the police to help uncover those who manufactured those pieces of evidence and bring them to book.
In a two-page report earlier reported by PREMIUM TIMES, the police alleged that Mr Suraju circulated false information about Mr Adoke via his organisation’s social media accounts without verifying its authenticity.
Malabu and case file
In the letter dated September 20, and addressed to the AGF, the Head of the IGP Monitoring Team, Ibrahim Musa, an assistant commissioner of police (ACP), said he was directed by the IGP to forward the duplicate file for “vetting, advice and possible prosecution”.
The letter with Reference Number: CR3100/IGP.SEC/MU/ABJ/ADM/T.4/Vol 2/134, is titled: Forwarding of Duplicate Casefile No: CR:169/2021: Re: Criminal Conspiracy, Defamation, of character and Forgery.”
It reads in part, “I am directed by the Inspector General of Police vide a letter no: SB:4099/CP SEC/ABJ/VOL.5/12 dated 17th September 2121 to forward the duplicate case file in respect of the above-mentioned subject for vetting, advice and possible prosecution.”
Mr Musa had on September 2, 2021, submitted the report of his team’s investigation to the IGP and asked that the case file be forwarded to the AGF. On September 17, the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, Idowu Owohunwa, wrote to Mr Musa, saying the IGP had upheld the recommendations contained in his memo and directed strict compliance.
In the letter to the AGF, the police said, “the totality of the conduct of Olanrenwaju Suraju is a calculated attempt to subject the complainant to media trial and falsify relationship between the complainant and Aliyu Abubakar while their cases are still ongoing in court, thereby misleading the public.
“Hence a prima facie case of cyberstalking, giving false information and criminal defamation with intent to incite can be sustained against Mr Olarenwaju Suraju.”
The police also accused the activist of using the social media handles of his organisation to spread falsehood against Mr Adoke.
Mr Suraju has denied any wrongdoing, saying Mr Adoke’s complaint to the police was aimed at diverting attention from investigations into the Malabu saga.
The Malabu controversy
The Malabu case, in which the e-mail and audiotape evidence complained about by Mr Adoke had featured, involved the transfer of about $1.1 billion by Shell and ENI through the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete.
Investigators and activists suspect Mr Etete bribed some top officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration after Eni and Shell controversially acquired OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks.
Mr Etete had awarded the block to his Malabu Oil and Gas Limited while serving as petroleum minister in the late Sani Abacha`s government. Being the AGF who advised the then Goodluck Jonathan administration on the OPL 245 transactions at the time, Mr Adoke’s name has repeatedly featured in matters connected to the deal.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had also accused Mr Adoke of accepting N300 million from Abubakar Aliyu, a controversial businessman and one of Mr Etete’s cronies.
Mr Adoke had, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying his transaction with Mr Aliyu was a property purchase deal that fell through after he could not raise the monetary balance for the asset.
While Shell and Eni, alongside their managers, were the main defendants in the case in Italy and have been acquitted, Messrs Adoke, Etete, and Aliyu have pending EFCC cases in Nigeria.
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