Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says his client has been taken to the Federal Medical Centre in Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Adoke has been in detention despite meeting bail conditions granted by a federal capital territory high court on January 30.
A source at the EFCC had told us of the plans to keep Adoke in perpetual detention – despite the order for his release.
EFCC accused the former minister of “abuse of office” in the OPL 245 deal which was signed in April 2011.
The anti-graft agency alleged that he collected N300 million bribe in September 2013 — more than two years after the deal was signed.
In a statement on Thursday, Ozekhome said the court took cognisance of his client’s poor health before granting him bail.
While wondering why the anti-graft agency has not obeyed the order, the senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said his client’s continued detention amounts to persecution and not prosecution.
“In addition to his spinal cord and back pains, Adoke is now critically ill, with the fresh addition of typhoid, malaria, sore throat and blistered lips, and with his sight gradually failing him. This has forced the EFCC to hurriedly transfer him to the Federal Medical Centre, Airport Road, Abuja,” the lawyer said.
“From the foregoing, it is crystal clear to any discerning observer that our client is no more being prosecuted, but is being persecuted, by the EFCC, which has, by this singular act, now constituted itself into an institution that acts above courts of law.”
He said by refusing to obey the order of court, the EFCC “is now constituting itself into an appellate court or tribunal over court decisions.”
“If a former Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice could be so shabbily ill-treated with such brazen disrespect to his humanity and dignity for his person, over alleged infractions, the infractions of which a competent court of law (coran, Justice Binta Nyako), had clearly exonerated him in a land mark decision, dated 13th April, 2018, and also, a further exoneration, by the Present Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, in a legal opinion dated 20th September, 2017, then one shudders about the fate of the proverbial ‘common man’ and ‘common woman’,” Ozekhome said.
“We humbly appeal most earnestly, to the EFCC, to respect a valid court order, by releasing Mr Bello Adoke, SAN, forthwith, from his illegal, unlawful wrongful, and unconstitutional detention.”
Adoke has denied the bribery allegation levelled against him, maintaining that the transaction in question was a mortgage he took from Unity Bank for which he had to pay interests and penalties after failing to provide his own funds to pay the developer the agreed N500 million price.
The former AGF said the developer, Abubakar Aliyu, eventually returned the N300 million payment directly to Unity Bank and sold the property to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) thereafter.
The EFCC has also charged Aliyu to court allegedly for refusing to testify that the money was a bribe to Adoke, while Rasky Gbinigie, Malabu’s company secretary, has also been arrested for the first time since the investigations started.
Gbinigie had been accused of removing Mohammed Abacha’s name from the Malabu’s registration documents, thereby handing over the company to Dan Etete, former minister of petroleum.
Adoke has alleged that Mohammed Abacha is using the EFCC to persecute him because of his shareholder dispute with Dan Etete over the ownership of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
According to Adoke, Abacha wanted him to force Etete to pay his own share from the proceeds of the sale of the oil block to Shell and ENI for $1.1 billion in 2011.
Adoke said he told Abacha that it was a civil dispute that should be resolved by the shareholders rather than the office of the attorney-general of the federation.
Malabu had been awarded the oil block in 1998 when Sani Abacha, Mohammed’s father, was head of state and Etete was minister of petroleum.
Abacha and Etete both held shares under pseudonyms in Malabu but the oil block was revoked by ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000.