EFCC to probe Adoke’s $6m no-trial deal with suspect

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EFCC to probe Adoke’s $6m no-trial deal with suspect

EFCC to probe Adoke’s $6m no-trial deal with suspect
April 27
04:14 2016

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Mr. Abubakar Malami, has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe the circumstances surrounding the deal reached by his predecessor, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, not to prosecute a firm, Tidex Nigeria Limited, suspected of an alleged crime.

The directive by the AGF to the EFCC was informed by a petition written by an Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Max Ogar, who alleged that Adoke as the then AGF in 2011, exempted Tidex, otherwise known as Tidewaters, from prosecution after committing an offence of “importing toxins into the country”.

Our correspondent on Tuesday sighted a letter signed on behalf of Malami by his Special Assistant on Prosecutions, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, giving the EFCC a three-week ultimatum to investigate the deal reached between Adoke and the company in 2011.

EFCC is, by the Malami’s directive, expected to turn in its report within the same period of three weeks.

An EFCC source told our correspondent that the commission received the letter from the AGF’s office on April 23.

Attached to Ogar’s petition dated April 11, 2016, was a copy of the document, titled, “Terms of settlement and non-prosecution agreement between the Federal Government and Tidex Nigeria Limited.”

A copy of the non-prosecution agreement, which was obtained by our correspondent along with the petition, was signed by Adoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria; Godwin Obla, who served as the Federal Government’s lawyer, and the representatives of Tidex.

As part of the agreement, Tidex was to pay the sum of $6m into the account of the Federal Government with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Five per cent of the $6m which amounts to $300,000 was to be paid to the Federal Government’s designated lawyer (Obla) as “legal costs and expenses” incurred by the Federal Government “in connection to the investigation carried out into the conduct of Tidewater”.

Ogar, who alleged that there were elements of “economic crime” in the deal, wants the EFCC to investigate among others, “what did the private citizen do to earn a fee of $300,000 and why didn’t the Solicitor General of the Federation witness the purported agreement?”

The agreement reads in part, “Whereas the FGN, through its Attorney General and Minister of Justice has deemed it appropriate to initiate criminal proceedings against Tidewater and Companies in the absence of this agreement arising from the outcome of investigations carried out into the conduct of Tidewater and Companies’ business in Nigeria.

“Whereas the FGN and Tidewater on behalf of Tidewater and Companies now desire to amicably resolve all matters relating to the proposed criminal proceedings under the terms set forth below.

“Now, therefore, in consideration of the mutual promises and releases contained herein and other good and valuable consideration, the FGN and Tidewater for Tidewater and Companies agree as follows:

“1. Finality: (i) Non-prosecution agreement: The FGN agrees that it will not file or seek to file any criminal charges, complaints, allegations, law suits (civil or otherwise), indictments, or causes of action of any kind against Tidewater, or any of the companies arising from any of the facts or allegations relating to the investigations carried out into the conduct of Tidewater and Companies’ business in Nigeria subject matter of the proposed criminal proceedings pursuant to any Nigerian laws and which arise, relate to, or are connected with any failure by Tidewater and/or any of the companies to comply with applicable Nigerian law in relation to the temporary importation of vessels into Nigeria.

“Or in relation to the use of Panalpina entities or other customs brokers, agents to secure permits or waivers from any FGN agency (Panalpina Services), including but not limited to actions under the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, the Criminal Code Act, the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, the Penal Code Act, the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Customs and Excise Management Act and all other related legislations, regulations of any of successive legislations or modifications in relation thereto.”

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