The federal government wants the Abuja Federal High Court to issue a warrant of arrest against former Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Mohammed Adoke, over his involvement in the controversial Malabu oil deal scam.
It would be recalled that FG had filed charges against two multinational oil firms, Shell and Eni, as well as some individuals, including Adoke in connection to the alleged diversion of $1.1billion proceeds from the controversial sale of the oil block.
When the matter was called up in court on Monday, counsel to the federal government, Johnson Ojogbane, told the court that the defendants were not in court because they were not yet served with court processes.
Ojogbane who is prosecuting for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said that he had been unable to serve the defendants, particularly the former AGF, Adoke, because he was not in the country.
He however sought to know if he could enter an oral application for the court to issue an arrest warrant over the accused person.
“We have been unable to serve the defendants in this case particularly the first defendant, Ojogbane said, “because we have been told that he is outside the jurisdiction of this court; outside the country actually.”
“So I will appreciate if my lord will guide me, because I actually wanted to make an application for a warrant of arrest, so I want to know if I can do that orally or come by way of a motion,” Ojogbane said.
He maintained that the EFCC had powers to arrest anyone anywhere, but since Adoke was outside the jurisdiction of the court, they required a warrant of arrest to bring him into the country.
The EFCC counsel explained that if the court approved the order for a warrant of arrest, it could be endorsed to the International Police, INTERPOL, so that the process of extradition could be triggered against Adoke.
However, Justice John Tsoho, noted that such an application cannot be brought orally before the court and cannot be granted since the matter was still under investigation.
According to Tsoho, “If he (the defendant) was already arraigned before the court and was trying to run away, then we can issue a warrant, but it is still under investigation, the court cannot make such an order.
The Judge therafter adjourned the matter till June 13 for arraignment.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the EFCC in December 2016, charged nine suspects, including Adoke, over the purchase of Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL 245.
Adoke was said to have illegally transferred over $800 million, purportedly meant for the purchase of the OPL 245 to former petroleum resources minister, Dan Etete, who is also believed to be the owner of Malabu Oil.
FG on March 2, filed fresh charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1 billion scandal.
Adoke, Etete, one Aliyu Abubakar, ENI Spa, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano, and Malabu Oil and Gas were charged alongside the two multinational oil firms.