By Mansur Abubakar
A former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, has absolved himself from any wrongdoing in a multi-billion dollar oil scam investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
According to him, he saved the country from losing $2billion liability in damages for breach of contract, which he said Nigeria would have been exposed to.
The federal government reportedly lost a whopping $1.6 billion to some of its influential citizens through the sale and revocation of a controversial oil block, OPL 245.
On Wednesday, the EFCC filed charges against Mr. Adoke and other persons and companies in respect of the OPL 245 Settlement Agreement involving Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited.
Mr. Adoke, who is reported to be hiding in Europe, said in a statement on Wednesday that he would make himself available for prosecution when the time comes.
“I hope to, at the appropriate time, make myself available to defend the charge for whatever it’s worth,” he stated, blaming “orchestrated plans to bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on a revenge mission.”
“I wish to reiterate that I acted within the actual and ostensible authority of the Office I occupied to broker a settlement between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited in order to ward off the over US $2 billion liability in damages for breach of contract which the country would have been exposed to in the likely event of the success of Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited’s claim before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
“The Terms of Settlement ensured that the interests of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited were duly acknowledged and provided for in the Settlement Agreement.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria was entitled to the Signature bonus which was duly paid; Malabu Oil & Gas Limited surrendered its title to OPL 245 for a consideration and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited was re-allocated OPL 245 which it had previously substantially de-risked in consideration for withdrawing their over US$2 billion claim for breach of contract against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Since the Parties aforementioned, faithfully discharged their respective obligations under the Settlement Agreement, one cannot comprehend how the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation which brokered the Settlement was expected to renege from the agreement by denying Malabu Oil & Gas Limited the benefits associated with the relinquishing of their title to OPL 245 already warehoused in a joint FGN/Shell Escrow account, or to prevent the subsequent re-allocation of the relinquished OPL 245 to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited when the company had already furnished consideration for it to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he added.