The Federal Government said on Tuesday that it is making all necessary arrangements to extradite a former attorney general of the federation and justice minister, Mohammed Adoke, to face charges of fraud.
The counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja.
The EFCC charged Mr. Adoke and two multinational oil companies, Shell and ENI, to court for their roles in the Malabu $1.1 billion scam.
The money was paid by the oil firms into a Nigerian government account in London for OPL 245, an oil block considered one of the richest in Africa. Mr. Adoke then authorised the transfer of the funds into private accounts of former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, in controversial circumstances. Over $800 million of the money was eventually transferred.
Most of the money is believed to have ended in private pockets of officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration including Mr. Adoke, who has, however, denied any wrongdoing.
On the last adjourned date, the judge, Justice John Tsoho, fixed June 13 for arraignment of Mr. Adoke and the other co-defendants including Mr. Etete.
Mr. Ojogbane, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the matter could not proceed because the EFCC had been unable to get Mr. 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.
“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,” Mr. Ojogbane said.
He said the court adjourned the matter until October 26 after the court’s vacation to enable the process of bringing Mr. Adoke and others back to Nigeria to be intensified.
Mr. Adoke, who had initially pledged to make himself available for trial, made a u-turn saying he feared he would not be treated fairly by the EFCC.
The EFCC had in December 2016, charged nine suspects, including Mr. Adoke, over the purchase of OPL 245.
The Federal Government had also on March 2, filed fresh charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited, a subsidiary of ENI, for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1 billion scandal.
Mr. Adoke, Mr. 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.