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‘Civil Society Network’ Pushes Back Against Former AGF Adoke Over $1.6 Billion Judgement Scam

The Chairman of the ‘Civil Society Network’ Against Corruption (CSNAC), Olanrewaju Suraju, has pushed backed against Nigeria’s former Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke, for his condemnation of a petition calling for the investigation of his involvement in the stealing of $1.6 billion.

On June 5, Mr. Suraju had written that Mr. Adoke, former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and a lawyer, Joe Agi, were implicated in a fraud totaling $3.2 billion. 

According to his petition, “[CSNAC’s own] private investigation indicates that serious economic and financial crimes have been committed by the public officers and private individuals who facilitated the procurement of the fraudulent judgment.”

In response the following day, Mr. Adoke denied any wrongdoing.  Instead, he blamed Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and the Ministry of Finance. 

Addressing the decentralization of payment processes, he stated that “the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation was only a nominal party to suits initiated against MDAs including suit number FHC/ABJ/129/2013, where the Ministry of Finance was the Primary/Principal Party. This notwithstanding, when enforcement proceedings commenced, I wrote to the Ministry of Finance to ascertain whether they had appealed the judgment.”

Further, Mr. Adoke said that the Federal Ministry of Justice was not involved in the payment of the alleged judgment sum and could not have been involved, as “the Ministry of Finance was primarily liable.”

In response to Mr. Adoke’s denial, Mr. Suraju said Mr. Adoke ought not to think Nigerians so unintelligent as to accept that he did not betray his office and his knowledge of the law in the circumstances surrounding the award of $3.6 billion damages against the federal government.

Mr. Suraju pointed out that in a letter to the Accountant General of the Federation, “The Debt Management Office warned against the payment of the judgment debt on the ground that the federal military government was not indebted to the local government as it ran the country as a unitary state at the time referenced in the suit.”

He added: “Assuming Mr. Adoke did not understand his law to challenge the suit at the federal high court, why did he deliberately failed (sic) to file an appeal against the dubious judgment?”

The statements by Mr. Suraju and Mr. Adoke follow mounting pressure on ministers in the government of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan to answer for their conduct while in power.  Specific reference is to Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala; former Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro; and former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.