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Malabu: Adoke demands damages from Malami in London Court

The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) has applied to the Commercial Court of the Property and Business Courts of England and Wales for the redaction of the witness statements of his successor, Abubakar Malami (SAN) from the court records.

He wants the court to delet from its records the statements made in respect of the Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245).

Besides, he wants damages from Malami for some imputations against him on the Malabu oil deal.

In addition, he claims he was not involved in the negotiation between the Federal Government and Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) which led to a $9.6 billion judgment debt against Nigeria.

According to him, witness statement of Malami absolved him of any involvement and consequently, records linking him with the matter should be deleted by the English Court.

Although it was not immediately clear if the order of the English Court might have effect on Adoke’s trial in Nigeria, the law allows domestication of a foreign court order or judgment.

In an August 13, 2020 application before the court, the ex-AGF said Malami pronounced him guilty before the English court on a matter that was pending before the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court in Nigeria.

Malami had in a statement of witness on December 5, 2015 alleged that “the OPL 245 case involved large-scale corruption and fraud at the highest levels of Nigerian government.

He said in addition to the English proceedings, the EFCC had brought charges against former Nigerian officials and some major oil companies, including Adoke.

He said Adoke was charged with corruption and money laundering for receiving funds as payment for negotiation he allegedly brokered between Shell, Eni and Malabu for OPL 245

But Adoke said Malami’s statements amounted to “an infringement of my fundamental right to fair hearing under Section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He said the statements constituted an  “unlawful pronouncement of my guilt” by the Attorney-General of the Federation with the aid of the United Kingdom Court, a court without jurisdiction in the pending criminal charges filed against him in the Nigerian courts under charges numbers FCT/HC/ CR/124/2017 and FHC/ABJ/CR/ 39/2017.

He also said the witness statement of Malami filed in the proceedings suggested that “there is no evidence implicating Adoke in the P&ID, and that investigations are ongoing.”

He said: “Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) was aware at the time he made the statements set out in the schedule hereto that the statements were false, as Mr. Malami, in his capacity as Attorney-General, had earlier advised the President of Nigeria and the chairman of EFCC that Adoke had not done anything fraudulent in the OPL 245 matter but had merely carried out the instruction of the President at the time (or had faithfully implemented the decision of government).

“The statements set out in the schedule hereto are intended by the Claimant/Respondent to the arbitration for malicious purposes to wit:  interfere with the fair hearing of the criminal charges pending against the applicant before High Court of Federal capital Territory under Charge No. FCT/HC/ CR/124/2017 and before the Federal High Court of Nigeria under Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/ 39/2017.

“That although I am a not a party in the Italian criminal proceedings, the prosecutors in the Italian criminal proceedings that was referred to in the 4th and 6th witness statements of Abubakar Malami (HAGF) had been severally criticised for concealing fact unfavourable to the prosecution in the Italian criminal proceedings, which is that the N300 million that is alleged that I have received from Malabu Oil was in fact a mortgage loan that I took from Unity Bank Plc in Nigeria to buy a house in Abuja with the purchase price of N500 million.

“And when I could not raise the balance of the purchase price of N200 million after the initial payment of N300 million with the mortgage advance secured from Unity Bank Plc, the vendor sold the property to the Central Bank of Nigeria for N500 million and refunded part payment of the purchase price of the property paid with the mortgage advance of N300 million secured from the Unity Bank Plc in discharge of my mortgage inability to Unity Bank Plc for the release of the documents of the property.”

He sought an “order redacting Malami’s 4th and 6th witness statements filed on 6th March 2020 respectively by deleting the statements set out in the schedule to the draft order.”

In a separate letter to Malami by Adoke’s counsel, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), the AGF was asked to “propose appropriate monetary compensation for the violation of Adoke’s constitutional rights and for the damage of his reputation.”