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BREAKING: Court discharges, acquits ex-AGF Adoke of money laundering




Justice Inyang Ekwo of the federal high court, Abuja, on
Friday upheld the “no case” submission by Mohammed Bello Adoke, former
attorney-general of the federation, on charges of money laundering.


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had
charged Adoke and Abubakar Aliyu, a property developer, in 2017 alleging money
laundering to the tune of N300 million.



Although there is no mention of the OPL 245 transaction in
this case, the same particulars were also charged by the EFCC before Justice
Abubakar Kutigi of the FCT high court in 2020.


While the EFCC admitted before Ekwo that it was a mortgage
that Adoke took from Unity Bank, it alleged before Kutigi that the money was a
bribe from the sale of the oil block by Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 2011.



On March 28, 2024, Kutigi pointed out the contradiction,
while dismissing the charges against Adoke and other defendants, chiding the
EFCC for wasting the court’s time for four years.


In his own ruling on Friday morning, Ekwo said the EFCC did
not provide any evidence to prove the essential elements of the offence against
Adoke, who was listed as first defendant.


He upheld the no case submission, discharging and acquitting



However, Ekwo ruled that Aliyu, the second defendant, has to
open his defence because he has a case to answer on some of the charges against


After the EFCC closed its case against Adoke and Abubakar in
November 2023, both had made a no-case submission, asking the federal high
court to dismiss the charges because the commission did not establish a case.



Adoke described the charges as “baseless and frivolous”.



In 2011, Adoke had taken a mortgage of N300 million from
Unity Bank to buy a property valued at N500 million from Abubakar.



However, he failed to pay his own equity contribution of
N200 million and the mortgage was cancelled in 2013.


Abubakar said he returned the N300 million to Unity Bank
after finding a new buyer — the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).


But in 2017, the EFCC accused Adoke of handing the dollar
equivalent of N300 million to Rislanudeen Mohammed, then acting managing
director of Unity Bank, to refund the loan.



The commission said it was a breach of money laundering laws
as it was above the N10 million threshold allowed, arguing further that a
bureau de change (BDC) — which the bank used to convert the dollar to naira —
is not a financial institution.


It accused Adoke and Abubakar of conspiring to commit the
offence of money laundering.



Mohammed, in his testimony as prosecution witness for the
EFCC, claimed he collected $2 million cash from Adoke and gave it to a BDC to
convert to naira to refund the mortgage.


He said after the money was repaid, the bank returned the
land documents to Abubakar and closed Adoke’s mortgage account.


Mohammed however said it was not a case of money laundering
since a BDC is legally a financial institution.



He said he did not report the transaction to the security
agencies such as the EFCC and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
because there was nothing suspicious about it, and that his office did not
reprimand him as he did not commit any offence.


Mohammed later apologised to Adoke in private, saying that
the EFCC had threatened to arrest his wife and daughter if he did not agree to
testify — albeit falsely — that he collected the cash directly from the former



Adoke said Ibrahim Magu, the former acting chairman of EFCC
who oversaw the charges, has also apologised to him.


Except the EFCC appeals, this now closes all court cases
against Adoke over the OPL 245 transaction of 2011.

Source link: Nigerianeye

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