Nigeria’s immediate past Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has dismissed his forthcoming prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, saying he is unable to rationalize the charge of aiding the money laundering offences preferred against him.
The former frontliner in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, who is reported to be hiding away from the long arms of the law in Europe, however, affirmed in a statement on Wednesday he would act like a man when the time comes.
“I hope to, at the appropriate time, make myself available to defend the charge for what whatever it's worth,” he stated, blaming “orchestrated plans to bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on a revenge mission.”
He was responding to the charges filed by the EFCC against him and some other persons and companies in respect of the OPL 245 Settlement Agreement involving Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited.
He wrote as follows: “I wish to reiterate that I acted within the actual and ostensible authority of the Office I occupied to broker a settlement between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited in order to ward off the over US $2 billion liability in damages for breach of contract which the country would have been exposed to in the likely event of the success of Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited’s claim before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
“The Terms of Settlement ensured that the interests of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited were duly acknowledged and provided for in the Settlement Agreement. The Federal Government of Nigeria was entitled to the Signature bonus which was duly paid; Malabu Oil & Gas Limited surrendered its title to OPL 245 for a consideration and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited was re-allocated OPL 245 which its had previously substantially de-risked in consideration for withdrawing their over US$ 2 Billion Dollars claim for breach of contract against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Since the Parties aforementioned, faithfully discharged their respective obligations under the Settlement Agreement, one cannot comprehend how the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation which brokered the Settlement was expected to renege from the agreement by denying Malabu Oil & Gas Limited the benefits associated with the relinquishing of their title to OPL 245 already warehoused in a joint FGN/Shell Escrow account, or to prevent the subsequent re-allocation of the relinquished OPL 245 to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited when the company had already furnished consideration for it to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Mr. Adoke said it should be clear to any person dispassionately reviewing the transaction that he had no personal interest in it, did not take any benefit from it, and that he had requisite approvals from the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to broker the settlement and execute the OPL 245 Settlement Agreement.
During his time in office, Mr. Adoke was repeatedly reported by arms of the media to have been involved in some of the most extensive acts of corruption by a Minister since independence.