The Federal Government has initiated a plan to have Mohammed Adoke, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, extradited to the country to face fraud charges.
Johnson Ojogbane, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is prosecuting Adoke, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday.
The EFCC had sued Adoke and two multinational companies for their alleged role in the $1.1bn Malabu oil deal.
John Tsoho, Justice of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had fixed June 13 for the arraignment of Adoke and the other defendants.
But Ojogbane said 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 jurisdiction, that is they are outside the country,” he said.
“The Federal Government is doing everything within its powers to bring them back to Nigeria so that they can face their trial.
“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.”
He said the court adjourned the matter until October 26, after the court’s vacation, to enable it to process the extradition of Adoke and other defendants to Nigeria.
In December 2016, the EFCC filed charges of fraud against nine persons, including Adoke over the controversial sale of an oil block – OPL 245 – which is considered as one of the most lucrative in Africa.
Adoke was accused of illegally transferring more than $800 million purportedly meant for the purchase of the block to Dan Etete through Malabu Oil and Gas.
On March 2, the government had also filed fresh charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1 billion deal.
Adoke, Etete, Aliyu Abubakar, ENI Spa, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil and Gas were charged alongside the two multinational oil companies.