By COMFORT NJIONYE
The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that it is making necessary arrangements to extradite a former Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Mohammed Adoke, to face charges for alleged fraud.
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Johnson Ojogbane told newsmen in Abuja.
The EFCC charged Adoke and two multinational oil companies, Shell and ENI, to court for their roles in the Malabu $1.1 billion scam.
The money according to them was paid by the oil firms into a Nigerian government account in London for OPL 245, an oil block considered one of the richest in africa.
Adoke authorised the transfer of the funds into private accounts of former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete, in controversial circumstances. it was noted that over $800 million of the money was eventually transferred.
Justice John Tsoho had fixed yesterday for arraignment of Adoke and the other co-defendants, including Etete.
Ojogbane, however, told Newsmen that the matter could not proceed because the EFCC had been unable to get Adoke and other defendants.
“The matter was adjourned until today for arraignment of the defendants, but up tiLl now, we have not been able to secure the attendance of most of the defendants, because they are outside the country.
“The government will take steps, in collaboration with the international police, to locate them and bring them back to Nigeria through extradition, which is a very cumbersome process. But it will be done,” Ojogbane said.
He also said the court adjourned the matter until October 26, after the court’s vacation to enable the process of bringing Adoke and others back to Nigeria to be intensified.
Adoke, who had initially pledged to make himself available for trial, made a u-turn, saying he feared he would not be treated fairly by the EFCC.
The EFCC had in December 2016, charged nine suspects, including Adoke, over the purchase of OPL 245.
The Federal Government had also on March 2, filed fresh charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited, a subsidiary of ENI, for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1 billion scandal.
Adoke, Etete, Aliyu Abubakar, ENI Spa, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil and Gas were charged along side the two multinational oil companies.