The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has yet to commence moves to extradite a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, two weeks after the anti-graft agency charged him alongside others with money laundering offences in connection with the $1.1bn Malabu oil scam, The PUNCH has learnt. The Malabu oil scam, which has been under investigation for over four years, relates to the billions of dollars paid by oil giants, Shell and ENI, into a Federal Government account, for OPL 245, considered the richest oil block in Africa.
The EFCC alleged that the money was allegedly diverted by Adoke and paid into private accounts.
Sources in the Federal Ministry of Justice said despite filing the charges against Adoke and other suspects on December 20, 2016, the EFCC had yet to commence move for extradition of Adoke, who is abroad and had since 2015, turned down the anti-graft agency’s invitation for investigation on his roles in the scam.
When contacted on Thursday, the Special Adviser to the incumbent AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, told our correspondent that his boss had yet to receive any request for the extradition of Malabu suspects.
“Contrary to reports in the media, I am aware that the EFCC has yet to inform the minister of its interest to get any of the suspects extradited to Nigeria. So, you don’t expect the minister to act in speculation,” Isah said.
But top sources confirmed to our correspondent on Thursday that the EFCC had delivered the duplicate case file of its investigative activities on the Malabu oil scam to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
It was learnt that the EFCC delivered the case file in huge bags to the AGF’s office sometimes last December following a request by the AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
But the sources said the anti-graft agency had yet to write the AGF indicating its interest to seek the extradition of the suspects who are abroad and not willing to submit themselves for trial.
Apart from Adoke, there are other two of his co-accused persons, who were said to be abroad and might not willingly submit themselves for trial.
To extradite a criminal suspect from a foreign country to Nigeria, the agency interested in the suspect is required to commence the extradition procedure by writing and presenting the available evidence to the AGF, who will in turn present a formal request backed with the evidence before the foreign country.
A source told our correspondent, “Extradition is a very long process which has to commence with a formal request accompanied by evidence of the alleged crime sent to the AGF.
“The AGF will then review everything and then if he finds the request meritorious he will then present it before the foreign country. But the EFCC has yet to inform the minister of its intention to extradite any of those involved in the Malabu oil scam.”
According to sources, the AGF office has also not been informed of the actual country Adoke is currently residing.
One of the said, “Some have rumoured that he is the Netherlands, some said France and others said Ghana. For extradition procedure to be commenced, the AGF must be informed authoritatively where the suspect is. The AGF cannot be speculating.”
Sources also confirmed to our correspondent on Thursday that the AGF’s office was reviewing the file on the Malabu oil scam, and might end up filing fresh charges against the suspects, particularly those not captured by the EFCC’s charges.
The PUNCH had reported on Thursday that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation might file fresh charges against the oil giant, Shell, in respect of fraud relating to the $1.1bn Malabu oil scam.
Already, Italian authorities had reportedly charged Shell, and another oil giant, ENI, along with others including some Nigerians with offences bordering on the Malabu deal, before a court in Milan.
According to reports, others among the total number of 13 whom had been charged by the Italian authorities are, a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, a Nigerian named Chukwuemeka Obi, who is laying claim to $110m out of the total $1.1bn.