Table of Contents
demands apology within 7 days over affidavit labeling his as corrupt
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, has accused his successor and current AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, of giving false evidence before the English Court that is handling the $9.6billion judgement debt case between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Process and Industrial Developments Limited, P&ID.
Adoke, in a letter dated July 28, which he wrote to Malami through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Paul Erokoro, SAN, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard on Wednesday, insisted that depositions in Witness Statements that was filed at the High Court of Justice of England and Wales in Claims No. CL 2018-000182 and 2019-000752, with respect to the case involving Nigeria and P&ID, were false.
He specifically accused Malami of not only concealing vital facts from the court but equally giving “unfair and uncharitable” evidence that labeled him as one of the corrupt officials that participated in the alleged fraudulent deal that led to the $9.6bn judgment liability and the OPL-245 Malabu oil scandal.
READ ALSO:Local hunters kill bank robbers in Oyo
Stressing that every attempts to strike a settlement deal with P&ID took place under Malami’s tenure as Attorney-General, Adoke noted that the same AGF had in a letter dated September 20, 2017, which he addressed to the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, stated that a review of the OPL 245 Resolution Agreement did not disclose a case against him.
“In effect, you had, as Attorney-General, exonerated Mr. Adoke of any wrongdoing in relation to the OPL 245 settlement agreements, contrary to your evidence in the English Court”.
“It is also on record that our client was not involved in any of the negotiations with P&ID for settlement, which all took place under your watch. The initial proposal for settlement was delivered to President Jonathan. The President referred the matter to our client for his advice. Our client advised the President to leave the matter to the in-coming administration since the President’s tenure was ending in 8 days.
“You also conceal these facts from the court even though the records have been in your office all along. If our client had been part of any corrupt scheme with P&ID as you claimed in your evidence, surely our client would have jumped at the chance to give P&ID a favourable settlement.
“Please note in this regard that the Final Award was issued in July 2015, months after our client had left office. Your evidence was therefore unfair and uncharitable to our client because you are aware that all the attempts at a settlement with P&ID took place under your tenure as Attorney-General, a fact you freely admitted in your witness statements.
“Recently, your government requested the United States Government for information on all bank accounts owned by our client and President Goodluck Jonathan, in that country. Our client asserts boldly that throughout his stay in government, he had no foreign account. He only opened a student account when he became a student at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 2016. Your office is aware that the funds in that account are less than €100. You, therefore, owed it as a duty to also tell the English court that the US authorities found no accounts belonging to our client. Rather, you concealed those facts from the court.
“Our client wishes to remind you that the Attorney-General of the Federation’s duty to protect the interest of the Federal Government does not empower him to trample on the constitutional rights of citizens”.
Adoke lamented that FG’s lawyer had on July 13, while presenting the government’s case during a virtual hearing at the High Court in England, repeatedly described him as “corrupt” and cited Malami’s written evidence as to his source.
“The court proceedings were on live television in Nigeria and on social media around the world. Newspapers also gave prominent coverage to the defamatory words attributed to you.
“Our client has now obtained copies of your witness statements and found to his shock that you actually swore to the offending words in several paragraphs of your 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th witness statements filed on the 5th December 2019, 22nd January 2020, 6th March 2020, and 8th June 2020, respectively”.
Adoke further noted that the Federal High Court had on the strength of Malami’s legal advice in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/446/2017 declared that he could not be personally responsible or liable for the actions that he took as Attorney–General of the Federation in relation to the OPL 245 settlement agreements, as he was merely executing the instructions of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“That judgment was delivered during your tenure as Attorney-General and there was no appeal.
“You are aware that the President at the material time, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan, whose orders Mr. Adoke carried out, has not been charged with any offence, despite extensive investigations by your administration.
“You are aware that the Prosecutor in the Italian criminal proceedings that you referred to in your evidence had been severely criticized for attempting to conceal the fact that the N300 million that Mr. Adoke is alleged to have received from Malabu Oil was, in fact, a loan that he had taken from Unity Bank PLC, to buy a house. When he could not raise the balance of the purchase price, the vendor sold the house to the Central Bank of Nigeria and Mr. Adoke had to pay back the loan. Unity Bank Plc and the Central Bank have confirmed these facts and furnished your office with documentary evidence of the loan and purchase transactions.
“At the same time as you were characterizing our client as a corrupt villain, you were also urging his truthfulness on the English Court. In paragraph 11 of your Fifth Witness Statement, you relied on the truth of Mr. Adoke’s statement to the EFCC to impugn the credibility of Ms. Grace Taiga. How can Mr. Adoke be honourable and dishonorable at the same time?
“You admitted in paragraph 11.5.3 of your Sixth Witness Statement that Mr. Adoke refused a gift of money from the lawyer that he had appointed to conduct the arbitration. Yet, instead of lauding him, you accused him of being corrupt.
“In paragraph 31 of your Fifth Witness Statement and in several other parts of your evidence, you criticized the sitting Attorney-General for exercising his statutory and constitutional powers to appoint a lawyer to represent the government. According to your evidence, the Attorney-General must accept the recommendation of his staff, in this case, “the legal adviser to the Ministry of Petroleum”.
“Meanwhile in paragraph 19.3.3 of your Sixth Witness Statement, you referred to evidence that the same Mr. Dikko had collected a bribe from P&ID associated companies. In the light of your accusation against Mr. Dikko, Mr. Adoke ought to be commended for his good judgment and prescience when he refused Mr. Dikko’s recommendation.
“While accusing Mr. Adoke of corruption for having single-handedly appointed Mr. Shasore as Counsel, you admitted in paragraph 163 of your Sixth Witness Statement that you also single-handedly appointed Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, to replace Mr. Shasore. Our client notes that you have not accused yourself of corruption in that regard.
“Our client is astounded by your failure to inform the English court that under Nigerian law, any person charged with or accused of a crime MUST be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Rather, you pronounced our client guilty, even when you were fully aware that his trial had not even commenced. The Attorney-General’s oath of office includes an undertaking to protect and defend the Nigerian Constitution. The constitutional right to a fair trial is severely breached when the Attorney-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria urges the court of a foreign jurisdiction to regard and even pronounce a Nigerian guilty of an offence without a trial.
“It was your unfortunate and wrongful pronouncement of guilt on our client that emboldened the FRN’s counsel in England to tell the whole world that our client is corrupt. This has done incalculable harm to our client’s name, reputation, and standing in society. Our client will suffer even more harm if the English Court, misled by your evidence, makes an adverse finding against our client. It is for this, among other reasons that the first duty of the Attorney-General and indeed all counsel, is to the Court.
“Seized as you are of all the facts and Investigation Reports, you are well aware that our client became Attorney-General of the Federation on the 6th day of April 2010, whereas the negotiations for the Gas project had been on from 2009. It is on record that our client only became aware of the P&ID matter when the Ministry of Petroleum Resources requested in 2013 that he appoint an arbitrator as well as counsel.
“Our client finds it remarkable that you found no fault in the appointment of the arbitrator but found fault with the appointment of counsel, even though the two appointments followed the same process. For this reason, our client is forced to conclude that your vilification of his name is merely a case of giving the dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“Our client asserts that even though he appointed Mr. Shasore as counsel, Mr. Shasore’s legal fees were paid by the administration of President Buhari, long after our client had left office, a fact well known to you”.
Aside demanding an apology, the former AGF asked Malami to within seven days, propose appropriate monetary compensation for the violation of his constitutional rights and for the damage to his reputation.
The post $9.6bn P&ID Case: Ex-AGF, Adoke tackles Malami, accuses him of giving false evidence appeared first on Vanguard News.