The Nigerian Police have submitted a case file to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recommending the prosecution of Olanrewaju Suraju, the Chairman of HEDA, an anti-corruption organisation.

The police recently said a report accusing Mr Suraju of peddling falsehood against a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, is not fake.

HEDA had claimed its findings indicated the report did not emanate from the police.

But a top official of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit, the police unit who issued the document, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the document was produced by the leadership of his team.

Mr Adoke, one of those the EFCC is prosecuting for alleged fraud in connection with the OPL 245 saga, popularly referred to as the Malabu scandal, had petitioned the police accusing some unnamed persons of circulating fabricated evidence against him to unduly incriminate him.

The former attorney-general said an e-mail submitted to a court in Italy was never written by him as claimed just like the tape of a purported interview he granted an Italian journalist.

Mr Adoke asked the police to help uncover those who manufactured those pieces of evidence and bring them to book.

In a two-page report earlier reported by PREMIUM TIMES, the police alleged that Mr Suraju circulated false information about Mr Adoke via his organisation’s social media accounts without verifying its authenticity.

The police also alleged that Mr Suraju’s organisation was unregistered, a claim this newspaper found to be false after carrying out checks on the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

The letter

In the letter dated 20 September and addressed to the AGF, the head of IGP monitoring team, Ibrahim Musa, an assistant commissioner of police (ACP), said he was directed by the IGP to forward the duplicate file for “vetting, advice and possible prosecution”.

The letter with Ref no Ref No CR3100/IGP.SEC/MU/ABJ/ADM/T.4/Vol 2/134, is titled: Forwarding of Duplicate Casefile No: CR:169/2021: Re: Criminal Conspiracy, Defamation, of character and Forgery.

It reads in part, “I am directed by the Inspector General of Police vide a letter no: SB:4099/CP SEC/ABJ/VOL.5/12 dated 17th September, 2121 to forward the duplicate casefile in respect of the above mentioned subject for vetting, advice and possible prosecution.”

The names listed by the letter are Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Suraju Olanrewaju and Ajene Isegbe.

Mr Suraju is accused of criminal conspiracy, defamation and cyberstalking, an allegation he has since denied.

The police accused him of using the social media handles of his organisation to spread falsehood against Adoke.

The letter also revealed that from court documents obtained, the said e-mail emanated from one Ismail Aliyu, who described himself as a representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance and was addressed to Bayo Osolake, an employee of the defendant (Abubakar) giving instruction for the transfer of funds.

Malabu controversy

The Malabu case, in which the e-mail and audiotape evidence complained about by Mr Adoke had featured, involved the transfer of about $1.1 billion by Shell and ENI through the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete.

Investigators and activists suspect Mr Etete bribed some top officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration after Eni and Shell controversially acquired OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks.

Mr Etete had awarded the block to his Malabu Oil and Gas Limited while serving as petroleum minister in the late Sani Abacha`s government.

Being the AGF who advised the then Goodluck Jonathan administration on the OPL 245 transactions at the time, Mr Adoke’s name has repeatedly featured in matters connected to the deal.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had also accused Mr Adoke of accepting N300 million from Abubakar Aliyu, a controversial businessman and one of Mr Etete’s cronies.

Mr Adoke had, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying his transaction with Mr Aliyu was a property purchase deal that fell through after he could not raise the monetary balance for the asset.

While Shell and Eni, alongside their managers, were the main defendants in the case in Italy and have been acquitted, Messrs Adoke, Etete, and Aliyu have pending EFCC cases in Nigeria.

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