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EFCC asks court to dismiss Adoke, others’ applications on warrant

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked Justice Danlami Z. Senchi of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, to dismiss an application brought by former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, seeking an order to vacate a warrant of arrest order issued against him and five others by the judge.

Others are former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujjato Stefano and Burrato Sebastiano.

The defendants are being charged by the EFCC for alleged fraudulent allocation of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 and OPL 214, and conspiracy, money laundering to the tune of $1.2 billion, forging of bank accounts, bribery and corruption against Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD) and Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE).

Counsel to Ralph Wetzel, Opasanya Oluseyi (SAN), challenged the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that the counsel for the defendants had not been duly served.

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The defence counsel, who also told the court that his client had not been residing in Nigeria since September 2016 and that the charges were filed in 2017, urged the court to uphold the application of the defendant by dismissing the warrant of arrest placed on his client.

Also, counsel to Dan Etete, Ikoli George Anthony (SAN), adopted the arguments canvassed by Oluseyi and told the court that if EFCC fails to comply with the court, the court would be robbed of the procedural right.

Mike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel to Adoke, prayed the court to set aside the bench warrant.

He also argued that the issue of his client running away does not arise because his client is studying his Ph.D.

In the same vein, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN), representing Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefano and Burrato Sebastiano, adopted the entirety of the arguments by his learned colleagues and asked the court to set aside the warrant of arrest on them.

In another development, the trial of the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Kawu Modibbo; Pinnacle Communications Ltd and two others was yesterday stalled as the prosecution counsel, Mr. Henry Emore, failed to file the bail bond verification of the defendants.

Provoked by the development, Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court stated that the prosecution was in default of the court order.


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