Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, has disclosed plans to commence legal action against an Italian prosecutor, Dr Sergio Spadaro for linking him with the OPL 245 scam, otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
Adoke, in a statement issued by his solicitors in the United Kingdom, specifically accused the prosecutor of deliberate lies in order to implicate him in the ongoing criminal trial of Shell and ENI in Milan, Italy.
In the statement issued by one Femi Oboro of GROMYKO AMEDU Solicitors in London, the former AGF also denied ownership of a property in Abuja, the prosecutor had claimed was purchased with his (Adoke) alleged share from the Malabu Oil deal.
In the statement titled, “The Many Lies of the Milan Prosecutor”, Mr Oboro stated that, “Although, our client is not on trial in Italy, it would appear the Italian prosecutors, in their bid to get Shell and ENI convicted, no longer have any regard for the truth and are ready to destroy anyone just to achieve their aim.
The statement noted Spadaro in his submissions to the court, on July 2, was mischievous when he said that a property valued at N700 million was sold to Adoke by Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, owner of Carlin International Nigeria Ltd, for N500 million.
“He also said our client paid only N300 million with a mortgage from Unity Bank for the property. He said the difference of N200 million was a gift to our client, suggesting that it was a proceed of crime. It is our client’s contention that these allegations are completely false. The facts have been twisted and material facts have been hidden from the court in the most unprofessional manner.
Oboro explained that Adoke had obtained a mortgage of N300m to purchase the property which was offered to him for N500 million but the deal could not sail through because he could not raise the balance of N200 million.
“However, as the Italian prosecutors also discovered in their forensic investigation, our client could not come up with the N200 million equity contribution to Carlin International Nigeria Ltd. Indeed, he had to pay interests and penalties on the mortgage because it was not performing. With our client’s inability to pay, Carlin International Nigeria Ltd sold the property to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and refunded the N300 million mortgage to Unity Bank.
“Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar then retrieved the Certificate of Occupancy from Unity Bank and our client’s mortgage account was closed. Most of the facts were confirmed by the prosecution witness, Mr Ferri Alessandro, in the Milan court.
“To our client’s surprise, the Italian prosecutors, led by Dr Fabio De Pasquale, continue to create the false impression that the property belongs to him, thereby concealing the material fact that he never took possession of the house. This lie has now been repeated by Spadaro. This is very unprofessional. Our Client has instructed us as his lawyers to report them to the Italian bar for professional misconduct”, the statement read.
The statement however noted that the Italian prosecutor, is not in this alone but has a Nigerian collaborator in the person of Mr Olanrewaju Siraj, a human rights activist and anti-corruption campaigner in Nigeria.
Adoke while handing over Mr Siraj to God for judgment however said his consolation in all the mischief by the Italian prosecutors is that they at least agreed that he took N300 million mortgage from Unity Bank and that the money was eventually returned to the bank.
“This fact is very important because the impression that mischief makers have been creating about him is that the N300 million was a kickback in the OPL 245 deal. The Italian prosecutors have now documented with the Milan court that, indeed, the N300 million was a mortgage from Unity Bank. They have also acknowledged that he paid interest on the mortgage. They have further acknowledged that the N300 million was returned to the bank”, the statement read, adding that ownership of the property in question is not difficult to prove since the owner CBN, is a government institution.
Adoke also expressed thanks to the Italians for, “Their gradual backhanded exoneration of his name which they have been maligning globally since 2015”.
“It is our client’s position that to the glory of God, nobody has traced any private jet or Phantom to him. No property, home or abroad, has been traced to him. No bank account has been frozen. The Italians have searched everywhere and they cannot find anything incriminating. That is why they keep making up stories. Money trail is the easiest thing to uncover in the world. You cannot collect $801 million bribe and hide it. You cannot hide N300 million. If indeed he was involved in money laundering, they will have stumbled on the evidence in the last five years when this persecution started.
“The documentary evidence with the Italians clearly shows these facts: (1) the property was offered to our client for N500 million (2) Unity Bank gave him a mortgage of N300 million towards it (3) He couldn’t make his equity contribution of N200 million (4) The property was then sold to the CBN as far back as 2013 (5) The N300 million mortgage was returned to Unity Bank by Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar in 2013 (6) He never took possession of the property. All these are indisputable facts.
“By this press statement, it is our client’s instruction that we serve notice to the Italian prosecutors that he will meet them in court at some point because he will not allow these despicable and evil lies go unchallenged”, Oboro added..