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UK court ruling on OPL 245 Malabu oil deal has vindicated me — Adoke

Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, Wednesday declared that he has again been vindicated by the ruling of a United Kingdom commercial court that there is no evidence of fraud in the OPL 245 transaction between Nigeria and JP Morgan Chase Bank.

The Commercial Court of England and Wales on Tuesday June 14, 2022 ruled on the matter in Case No CL-2017-000730 as contained in its 137-page judgement.

An Italian court in 2021 also dismissed all corruption charges in the OPL 245 deal, discharging and acquitting all the defendants.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) investigated the OPL 245 deal and brought it to a close in October 2019 without any charges.

In April 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it could not prove any allegations of fraud or corruption and decided to close the investigation into the transaction.

Reacting to the latest judicial decision, via a press statement, Adoke said, although he was not expecting a contrary judgment knowing well that he did no wrong while serving Nigeria, the ruling by foreign courts would now put to rest baseless allegations levelled against him on the OPL 245 deal.

“I served Nigeria with all honesty and every sense of duty and patriotism, it is very gratifying that foreign courts have declared over and over again that there were no fraudulent or corrupt practices involved in the OPL 245 Settlement Resolution,” the former Minister stressed.

Adoke lamented that although, he was not a party in the suit, the Federal Government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, caused all manner of false depositions to be made against him to paint the transaction with the tar of corruption, in an attempt to justify the spurious criminal proceedings instituted against him in Nigeria.

“I am particularly pleased with the outcome of the suit because if it were to be Nigerian courts, I would have been accused of buying justice by my traducers, who are hell-bent on tarnishing my name and destroying me for political reasons,” he stated.

Adoke recalled that OPL 245 was awarded to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 1998 by the military government of Gen Sani Abacha.

The statement by Adoke explained that the contract was revoked by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001, following which Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd went to court to challenge the action.

The former Minister noted that “in 2006, the administration of President Obasanjo opted for an Out-of-Court Settlement and returned OPL 245 to Malabu 100 per cent. This was the state of affairs when I was appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Justice by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010.

“President Jonathan asked me, as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, to give him legal advice on the validity and enforceability of the Out-of-Court Settlement entered by the Obasanjo Administration.

“After reviewing all the documents related to the oil block, I advised him that the Settlement Agreement dated 30th November 2006 had already been reduced into a subsisting Consent Judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

“My involvement in the entire OPL 245 saga was carrying out the lawful directives/approvals of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, to the effect that the Settlement Agreement was implemented.

“However, when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, some influential figures in his government deceived him into believing that Nigeria could get back the $1.1 billion that Shell/ENI paid to Malabu for OPL 245.

“But, as I have constantly reiterated, every action taken by me concerning the resolution of the controversies around OPL 245 and the eventual transfer of the oil block from Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd to Shell and ENI was done with the requisite Presidential Directives/Approvals and the best intentions for Nigeria.”

Written by ExpressDay

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