Court clears Adoke on Malabu oil deal

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday ruled that Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, acted within the law and cannot be held liable for obeying a presidential directive in the resolution of the OPL 245 dispute with Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd.

The court also held that Adoke acted on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan on all the settlement agreements regarding the deal.

Adoke is accused of misconduct in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.

In May 2017, he asked the court to declare his prosecution by the EFCC illegal and for the court to declare that he acted in the deal on the orders of Jonathan.

But Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, asked the court to dismiss the suit and said Adoke must face trial.

A criminal suit has already been initiated by the Federal Government against Adoke as regards the deal.

Delivering judgement on a suit filed by Adoke against the AGF, the presiding judge Binta Nyako held that based on sections 5 (1), 147 (1), 148 (1) and 150 (1) of the constitution, the powers of the president could be exercised through his ministers.

“The executive powers of the president are exerciseable by his ministers,” Nyako ruled.

“The plaintiff cannot be held personally liable for carrying out the lawful directives of the president.”

Justice Nyako declined to grant the fifth relief sought by ex-AGF asking the court to declare that his prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is illegal.

She explained that EFCC was not joined in the suit.

The EFCC had filed charges of corruption against Adoke, Dan Etete, former petroleum minister; Aliyu Abubakar, a businessman, and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Adoke was accused of giving wrong legal counsel to the Federal Government over the resolution of the dispute.

The sale of the OPL 245, which is considered as one of the most lucrative on the continent, has been replete with allegations and lawsuits.

Adoke has consistently maintained that he acted on the instruction of Jonathan.

Following the EFCC action, the former attorney-general, who says he is a victim of a witch-hunt, through Kanu Agabi, his counsel, asked the court to declare that he acted in good faith when he got involved in the negotiation for the oil block.

He also asked the court to declare his prosecution illegal, null and void.