Monday, April 12, 2021

OPL 245: Group asks UK to investigate forgery allegations

The graft allegation, called the OPL scandal, was made against Shell and Eni acquisition of oil fields.

• April 6, 2021
Mohammed Adoke
Mohammed Adoke leaves the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Jan. 22. Photographer: Kola Sulaimon/AFP via Getty Images

A United Kingdom based organisation, Corner House, has urged the UK to investigate forgery allegations made by former Nigerian Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.

The group explained that Mr Adoke alleged that the Mutual Legal Assistant (MLA) made by the UK which was used to prosecute and convict him over the OPL 245 scam in Milan, Italy was forged.

This was contained in a press statement on Tuesday.

In the statement, the group disclosed that it had written a petition to UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were also copied in the petition.

The group described Mr Adoke’s allegations as “a challenge to the United Kingdom legal institution.”

It warned the Nigerian Police Force against subverting the Nigerian justice institutions, adding that “the proper place for Adoke to have challenged the veracity of the email was in the courtroom in Milan where it was used as evidence against him and the oil giants.”

Now replaced IGP Muhammed Adamu had summoned the Chairman of Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA), Olanrewaju Suraju to Abuja in relation to Mr Adoke’s allegations.

The Corner House further noted  that “it is entirely plausible that the email itself may not have been written or sent by Adoke. As his lawyers have stated it may have been sent on his behalf. However, we categorically deny that we forged the email. 

“Indeed, the notion that a document furnished by the UK in response to an MLA is a forgery is both entirely fanciful and highly damaging to the UK’s reputation as a trusted party to the MLA process.”

Stating that it was obtained through a government-to-government request from Italy to the UK, the Corner House stressed that “neither Mr Suraju nor Corner House nor Global Witness nor Re: Common were involved at any stage in the chain of custody.”

The graft allegation, called the OPL scandal, was made against Shell and Eni acquisition of oil fields. 

The Nigerian government had sued JP Morgan Chase for damages in the English High Court in relation to the financial institution’s handling of the funds from the deal.

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