Malabu Oil Deal: EFCC To Arraign Adoke, Six Others Today

(FILE) Mohammed Adoke

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will today arraign a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mister, Mohammed Adoke.

The anti-graft agency had filed 12 counts against Mr Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie, as well as Malabu Oil and Gas Limited before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

Others listed on the charge sheet are Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.

The commission had also filed seven counts before a Federal High Court against Mr Adoke and Mr Abubakar.

The charges were filed against the former minister for the role he allegedly played in the controversial Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, otherwise known as Malabu oil scam.

Himself, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep (SNUD), and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) were accused of conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion.

Adoke was arrested by the EFCC in December last year after returning from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he was first arrested and detained.

Malabu Oil Deal: EFCC To Arraign Adoke, Others On Tuesday

A photo combination of EFCC’s logo and a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, after he returned to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC.

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has concluded plans to arraign a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mister, Mohammed Adoke.

The anti-graft agency is to arraign Mr Adoke on Tuesday, having filed charges against him before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

In the charges obtained by Channels Television, the EFCC filed 12 counts against Mr Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie, as well as Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

Others listed on the charge sheet are Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.

The commission has also filed seven counts before a Federal High Court against Mr Adoke and Mr Abubakar.

It filed the charges at both courts in Abuja, after deciding to prosecute the former minister for the role he allegedly played in the controversial Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, otherwise known as Malabu oil scam.

Adoke was arrested by the EFCC in December last year after returning from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he was first arrested and detained.

The anti-graft agency accused the former minister, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep (SNUD), and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) of conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion.

Court Okays Detention Of Former AGF Adoke For Another 14 Days

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, returns to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC

 

The Federal Capital Territory High Court has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) permission to detain the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), for another 14 days.

Justice Othman Musa on December 20, granted the EFCC an initial 14 days to detain Mr Adoke to complete investigation, which elapsed on Thursday.

Mr Adoke was handed over to the EFCC by International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) upon arrival from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on December 19 and taken into custody for his alleged involvement in the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Another Abuja Bank Robbery Suspect

According to a statement by the Head, Media & Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the fresh application was granted by Justice Musa in preparatory to Adoke’s arraignment.

Justice Musa, while granting the application, stated that “the extension of the remand of the respondent for another 14 days for the purpose of his arraignment in court is necessary and granted as prayed.”

The former AGF who has been away from the country stalled the trial forcing the anti-graft agency to obtain an arrest warrant against them on April 17, 2019.

Read full statement below:

EFCC Press Release

Court Gives EFCC Nod to Detain Adoke for Additional 14 Days

Justice A.O. Musa of Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, January 2, 2020, granted the application of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to keep the former attorney general and minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke in its custody for additional 14 days preparatory to his arraignment.

In granting the application, the judge stated that “the extension of the remand of the respondent for another 14 days for the purpose of his arraignment in court is necessary and granted as prayed.”

The Commission took custody of Adoke on December 19, 2019, upon his arrival from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Adoke who fled the country in 2015, has pending criminal charge of alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

It would be recalled that the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted Dan Etete, his then Petroleum Minister, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCO.

Etete’s Malabu Oil and Gas, however, reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court. While Shell challenged the decision, a ‘fraudulent settlement and resolution’ was consummated under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, with Shell and ENI buying the oil block from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.

Investigations by the EFCC into the deal revealed crimes that border on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion against  Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) and their officials, culminating in criminal charges against Adoke, Etete, and others, which are pending in both the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court, Abuja

The absence of the defendants slowed the prosecution of the suspects, forcing the EFCC to obtain an arrest warrant against them on April 17, 2019.

Adoke, however, arrived the country on Thursday, December 19, 2019, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates into the waiting arms of EFCC operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

His return has now cleared the way for him to answer to the charges against him.

Justice Musa adjourned the case to enable its assignment by the Chief Judge.

Wilson Uwujaren

Head, Media & Publicity

2 January, 2020

Adoke’s Bail Application Suffers Setback As Judge Returns Case File

 

The bail application filed by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke on Tuesday suffered a setback as the vacation judge, Justice Othman Musa returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the FCT for reassignment.

Justice Musa returned the case file following an application for bail by the counsel representing the former AGF.

He applied for an adjournment to enable him respond to the counter affidavit filed by the EFCC challenging the application.

In a short ruling on the propriety of granting the adjournment, Justice Musa explained  that the vacation period of the court ends on the 3rd of January and in view of that, he is returning the case file to the Chief Judge of the FCT.

The EFCC had filed criminal charges against Mr Adoke over his role in the Malabu Oil scandal before Justice Danlami Senchi also of the FCT High Court sitting at Jabi.

Court Hears Adoke’s Bail Application Today

Mohammed Adoke

 

A Federal Capital Territory High Court in the nation’s capital, Abuja is expected to hear the bail application of former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, today.

Mr Adoke has been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), since he returned to the country from the United Arab Emirates.

After his release from the custody of the police in Dubai, he was picked up by the Interpol at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, before he was later handed over to the EFCC.

The former AGF is being investigated alongside other suspects, over the $1.09billion Malabu oil block (OPL 245) deal.

Adoke’s Detention: Ozekhome Faults EFCC’s Action, Demands Bail For Ex-AGF

Mr Mike Ozekhome

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, faulted the latest action of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the prosecution of a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke.

In a statement personally signed by him on Friday, Ozekhome described the obtaining of a court order by the anti-graft agency to detain his client – Adoke – for two weeks as unnecessary.

He noted that the former AGF had already been charged to court even in absentia, while he was in the Netherlands for a masters’ degree programme.

Ozekhome stressed that his client returned to the country voluntarily, adding that he was surprised that Adoke was arrested by INTERPOL upon his arrival.

“Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him, punish him, wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and psychically?” he questioned.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Remand Of Former AGF Adoke For 14 Days

The senior advocate, therefore, called on the EFCC to grant the former AGF administrative bail to treat himself, saying that was why he went to Dubai.

He warned that failure to do so would force them to take legal steps to vacate the ex parte order.

Read Ozekhome’s full statement below:

It is quite surprising, if not distressing, to behold EFCC obtaining a two-week detention order to keep Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) in its custody.

This is a man they had already charged to court since 2017, even in absentia, whilst he was in the Netherlands pursuing his masters’ degree in International law.

This is a man they forwarded his charges to the UAE and Interpol authorities, with a view to preventing them from releasing him, based on the said existing charges.

This step led to a legal stalemate, since the UAE and Interpol authorities would not, and could never have extradited Adoke based on a non-existent warrant of arrest.

This is because the earlier warrant of arrest issued against him in April 2019, had since been vacated by the same Justice D.Z. Senchi that earlier issued it on 25th October,2019 after heated court argument between government lawyers and my humble self.

Adoke, therefore, elected to return to Nigeria voluntarily, purchasing his own ticket by himself and signing as such, accordingly.

I had issued a statement to the effect that Adoke was on his way back to Nigeria and would report to the EFCC with lawyers from my office upon his arrival.

It was, therefore, a matter of great surprise that the Interpol still arrested him upon arrival and handed him over to the EFCC.

Rather than the EFCC immediately arraigning him before a court based on charges already preferred against him even in absentia, it has resorted to obtaining an ex parte order from the FCT High Court to detain him for two weeks.

We don’t want to believe that Adoke will be persecuted rather than prosecuted. The last time I checked, cases are first thoroughly investigated before a suspect is charged to court as has been done in the Adoke matter.

Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him? Punish him? Wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and psychically?

Deny him justice? Subject him to public ridicule, derision, odium, and obloquy? Is it meant to negatively put him in the public domain, try him, convict him and sentence him through media trial?

All these will neither help the course of justice, nor promote constitutional democracy with its corollary in-built safety valves of advancing inalienable human rights and liberties as recognised by extant national, sub-regional, regional, and international civil rights instruments.

We humbly appeal to the EFCC to accord Adoke administrative bail to take care of his poor health, the very reason he had gone to Dubai.

In the event that this fails, we shall immediately take legal steps to vacate this ex parte order, with a view to protecting our client’s rights and securing his liberty.

Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.

Counsel to Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.

EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

A photo combination of EFCC’s logo and a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, after he returned to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC.

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke.

Adoke was detained by the anti-graft agency on Thursday after he was handed over to the EFCC by international police organisation, INTERPOL.

He was taken into custody by the EFCC for his alleged involvement in the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

This comes shortly after the former AGF returned to the country from Dubai in company with INTERPOL officers aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785.

The aircraft is said to have departed the Emirati commercial capital at about 8am Nigerian time and touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja after about eight hours later.

Adoke was, thereafter, whisked away to the INTERPOL office in Abuja after which he was transferred to the EFCC office also in the nation’s capital.

 

 

He Has Done Nothing Wrong?

The former AGF is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI filed against him and four others by the EFCC on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted Mr Dan Etete who was his Petroleum Minister, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.

Malabu Oil and Gas was, however, said to have reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court while Shell rejected and challenged the decision.

The EFCC claimed that fraudulent settlement and resolution ensued, allowing Shell and Eni to buy the oil block from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.

Investigations into the deal, according to the anti-graft agency, revealed crimes that bordered on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion.

Following its inability to produce the defendants in court, the anti-graft agency approached a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on April 17 to secure a warrant of arrest against them.

The court granted the request by the EFCC, leading to Adoke’s arrest by the police in Dubai in November.

But in a statement on Thursday, lawyer to Mr Adoke and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, said his client had been released and was already on his way to Nigeria.

Ozekhome insisted that the former AGF was not extradited but was set free by the police in Dubai after he said he wanted to go home and “solve his problems back at home”.

“Adoke is not extradited by the Nigerian government because there is no reason for that … he is innocent of the allegations against him. Adoke has not done anything wrong,” he said.

Ozekhome, EFCC Disagree Over Access To Adoke

Mr Mike Ozekhome

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have disagreed over the claims that nobody was allowed access to a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke.

This comes shortly after Mr Adoke returned to Nigeria from Dubai in company with INTERPOL officers aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785.

The aircraft is said to have departed the Emirati commercial capital at about 8am Nigerian time and touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja after about eight hours later.

Ozekhome, who is Adoke’s lawyer, alleged that neither he nor any other person was allowed to talk to the former AGF.

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

According to the senior advocate, his client was picked up at the foot of the aircraft by INTERPOL officers and taken to the international organisation’s office in Abuja.

Reacting to the allegation, the anti-graft agency told Channels Television that the claim of denying access to Adoke was not correct.

Mr Tony Amokeodo who the spokesman for the acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, confirmed during an interview on Politics Today that the former AGF was already in the custody of the anti-graft agency.

He said, “That’s not correct; he (Ozekhome) is his (Adoke) lawyer. So, he has the right to say anything he wants to say.

“But the fact still remains that any detainee or suspect will be allowed to have access to his legal team.”

“We have him (Adoke) with us here and we are going to do some kind of question and answer session where he will be quizzed.

“He will have access to his lawyer. We have nothing to hide about the former AGF and what we are going to do will be within the ambit of the law,” Amokeodo assured.

The former AGF is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI filed against him and four others by the EFCC on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

INTERPOL Hands Adoke Over To EFCC

A photo combination of EFCC’s logo and a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, after he returned to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC.

 

 

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, has been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

International police organisation, INTERPOL handed over Mr Adoke to the anti-graft agency on Thursday at its office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

INTERPOL explained that it did not arrest Adoke but rather acted on the request of the EFCC to pick him at the airport.

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

The former AGF was, thereafter, taken into custody by the EFCC for his alleged involvement in the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

The former AGF is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI filed against him and four others by the EFCC on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted Mr Dan Etete who was his Petroleum Minister, and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.

Malabu Oil and Gas was, however, said to have reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court while Shell rejected and challenged the decision.

The EFCC claimed that fraudulent settlement and resolution ensued, allowing Shell and Eni to buy the oil block from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.

Investigations into the deal, according to the anti-graft agency, revealed crimes that bordered on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion.

Adoke Returns To Nigeria, Whisked Away To INTERPOL Office

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, returns to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC.

 

 

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, has returned to the country.

Mr Adoke’s aircraft touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at about 3:40pm on Thursday.

He was, thereafter, whisked away from the foot of the aircraft by security operatives and taken to the office of INTERPOL in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

Adoke is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the charges against the former AGF and four others on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

 

Following its inability to produce the defendants in court, the anti-graft agency approached a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on April 17 to secure a warrant of arrest against them.

The court granted the request by the EFCC, leading to Adoke’s arrest by the police in Dubai in November.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, confirmed Adoke’s arrest about a week later during a courtesy visit to the EFCC headquarters.

 

Is He Innocent?

Earlier, lawyer to Mr Adoke and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, announced that his client had been released and was already on his way to Nigeria.

Ozekhome, in the statement forwarded to Channels Television, insisted that the former AGF was not extradited but was set free by the police in Dubai.

According to him, Adoke gave assurance to the police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city that he wants to go home and “solve his problems back at home”.

“I can confirm to you authoritatively that Adoke has been released from the custody of the INTERPOL and will arrive in Nigeria at any moment.

“He was let off the hook because nothing incriminating was found on him and he has on his own volition opted to come back to Nigeria,” the senior advocate said.

Ozekhome added, “Adoke is not extradited by the Nigerian government because there is no reason for that. He is coming back to Nigeria to clear his name from the alleged Malabu oil scandal.

“He is innocent of the allegations against him, Adoke has not done anything wrong. He is already airborne and will land in Nigeria this afternoon today Thursday.”

The EFCC also confirmed Adoke’s return to the country on its verified Twitter handle.

It said the former AGF was accompanied by INTERPOL officers on Emirates Airlines Flight 785 while operatives of the anti-graft agency were on the ground at the airport.

The aircraft, according to the EFCC, departed the Emirati commercial capital at about 8am Nigerian time.

Sagay Confirms Arrest Of Adoke In Dubai

 

The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay has confirmed the arrest of former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke.

Prof Sagay during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said the arrest is the latest success in the fight against corruption under the federal government.

Mr. Adoke is facing criminal charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI, brought against him and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

RELATED: OPL 245: EFCC To Serve Adoke, Etete By Substituted Means

His arrest follows a warrant issued by a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja requested by the EFCC.

He added that the fight against corruption is gaining momentum under the Buhari-led Federal Government due to the fightback from its beneficiaries.

“The former attorney General Adoke has been arrested in Dubai. It’s a continuous thing, so when Nigerians pretend and say what is the difference this government has brought into the fight against corruption, what has been achieved? There is no difference, it amazes me. For me, it’s a sign of patent bad faith being expressed by the elite who were the beneficiaries of corruption.

“They are undergoing the pains of having to earn their living, rather than simply collecting easy money where people were building edifices without any sign of employment of any sort. There has been a lot of change and the EFCC activities are responsible for most of this change.”

READ ALSO: Malabu Oil Scandal: Adoke Asks Court To Set Aside Order Of Arrest

The EFCC had obtained a warrant of arrest on April 17 against Adoke, as well as a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, and four others over the OPL 245 scandal.

It filed criminal charges against the defendants but decried it had been difficult for it to serve them the charges or produce them in court as a result of their absence from the country.

The court asked the EFCC in October, to serve the criminal charges to Mr. Adoke by substituted means, after lifting the initial warrant against the defendant due to their unavailability.

OPL 245: EFCC To Serve Adoke, Etete By Substituted Means

(FILE) Mohammed Adoke

 

 

The Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Jabi has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to serve the criminal charges of alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI, brought against a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, and others by substituted means.

EFCC’s head of media and publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

According to him, Justice Danlami Senchi gave the order in a ruling on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Justice Senchi lifted the arrest warrant earlier issued against the defendants and ruled that it would be reissued after the prosecution has served them by substituted means due to their unavailability.

READ ALSO: Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Apologises For Benue Killings

The EFCC had obtained a warrant of arrest on April 17 against Adoke, as well as a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, and four others over the OPL 245 scandal.

It filed criminal charges against the defendants but decried it has been difficult for it to serve them the charges or produce them in court as a result of their absence from the country.

The situation forced the anti-graft agency to apply for a warrant of arrest against them, which was granted by the court, empowering the Nigeria Police Force and Interpol to arrest them anywhere they were seen.

 

Endless Adjournments?

EFCC also said it has been difficult to execute the warrant as the defendants allegedly remained in hiding in foreign locations, leaving the court to contend with endless adjournments in the matter.

Thereafter, the defendants through their counsel went to court and asked that the warrant be set aside, based on the fact that the EFCC has so far not served them any charges.

Justice Senchi obliged them, saying the application was meritorious.

He had stated that the EFCC ought to have served the charges to the defendants before applying for the arrest warrant that was granted to it.

The trial judge further ruled that the arrest warrant would be reissued against the defendants if they refused to show up in court after they have been served and upon a new application by the EFCC.

He, however, stated that the EFCC ought to have informed the court that it could not trace the defendants so as to serve them the charges.

Justice Senchi added that the court would have authorised the commission to serve the defendants by substituted means, which may be by a newspaper advertisement or through their legal representatives when they were in court.

Following the pronouncements, the prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, informed the court that the EFCC would apply to serve the defendants, through their legal representatives.

He said, “As we cannot serve them because they are at large, we will write an application for leave of court, permitting us to serve the accused through their lawyers and if after adjournment they did not show up, we will still ask the court for a warrant of arrest.”

The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had revoked the OPL 245, which the late General Sani Abacha granted Etete who was his Petroleum Minister and reassigned it to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.

But Malabu Oil and Gas was said to have reclaimed the oil block in 2006 through the court while Shell challenged the decision.

The EFCC claimed that fraudulent settlement and resolution ensued, allowing Shell and Eni to buy the oil block from Malabu in the sum of $1.1billion.

It said investigations into the deal revealed crimes that border on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion.