EFCC’s ex-boss initiated $6m no prosecution deal with suspect, says Adoke
Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), yesterday indicted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the $6 million no-trial deal that was sealed between the Federal Government and Tidex Nigeria Limited back in 2011.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Adoke said that the deal was initiated by the anti-graft agency under the chairmanship of Mrs. Farida Waziri, with the said sum duly paid into a Federal Government account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to Adoke, it was the EFCC that initiated the settlements and nominated Mr. Godwin Obla (SAN) to represent the commission’s interest in the negotiations.
“The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation did not initiate these settlements. It was the EFCC, under the Chairmanship of Chief (Mrs.) Farida Waziri, OON that initiated these settlements and nominated Mr. Godwin Obla, SAN as the lawyer to represent their interest in the negotiations that were conducted under the auspices of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. It was when the negotiations were concluded to the satisfaction of all the parties, that I signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria and Mr. Emmanuel Akomoye (then, Secretary to the EFCC) signed on behalf of the EFCC. The copies of the agreements are in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and I believe with the EFCC as well.”
“This was the procedure that was adopted in respect of all the settlements that were initiated by the EFCC in 2011 including those of Shell, Saipem, KBR, JGC, et c, that infracted the laws of the country.”
“A dispassionate investigation into the Tidex Nigeria Limited Non Prosecution Agreement would reveal that the settlement was at the behest of the EFCC, the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Emmanuel Akomaye and EFCC nominated Attorney, Mr. Godwin Obla, SAN, duly represented the EFCC. It would also reveal that the penal fines imposed on Tidex Nigeria Limited were duly paid into a Federal Government designated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and that I did not in anyway derive any benefit whatsoever from the transaction.”
“While I am concerned as any reasonable person would, about these negative media releases, I remain calm knowing that the prevailing atmosphere has unwittingly created a fertile ground for witch-hunt and personal vendetta. I am however, confident that in due time, the dark cloud that bestrode the horizon will disappear and Nigerians will become aware of the truth and be able to make value judgment on all these issues. Nigerians will then differentiate those who genuinely served their fatherland from those who sought public office for personal gain,” Adoke explained.
When The Guardian sought to get the comment of the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren on this allegation but his phone indicated it was switched off at the time of filing this report.
There were reports yesterday that serving Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had directed the EFCC to investigate the deal and the reasons the former minister, Adoke chose not to prosecute Tidex Nigeria Limited, a company alleged to have imported toxins into the country in 2011.
An Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Max Ogar, was reported to have petitioned the AGF, alleging that Adoke exempted the company from prosecution. Though Adoke was silent about the legal cost paid to Obla, the petition alleged that five per cent of the $6 million, amounting to $300,000 was to be paid to the lawyer as legal costs and expenses made on investigating the company..