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Adoke Acquitted of Charges in Malabu Oil Deal Fraud Case

In a ruling on Thursday, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Jabi dismissed charges of fraudulent conduct related to Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, commonly known as the Malabu Oil deal, against former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke. The charges were brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency had brought charges against Adoke before the FCT High Court in Abuja on January 15, 2020, alongside Aliyu Abubakar, Gbinije of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd, Shell Ultra Deep Nigeria Ltd, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Ltd (SNEPCo).

Adoke was specifically accused of receiving a gratification of N300 million from Abubakar concerning the resolution of OPL 245. Adoke denied all allegations.

However, after considering a “no case” submission made by Adoke, Justice Abubakar Kutigi ruled that the EFCC had not provided sufficient evidence to support its charges. The judge concluded that the defendant had no case to answer and subsequently discharged and acquitted the former minister of all counts.

Justice Kutigi also pointed out that the charge was not well drafted and prosecuted, advising the prosecuting counsel to avoid similar shortcomings in the future.

The controversy surrounding OPL 245 dates back to April 9, 1998, when the Federal Military Government awarded the oil block to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, reportedly primarily owned by Mohammed Abacha, the son of former military ruler Sani Abacha, and Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister at the time.

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