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Sunday, 22 December 2019

$1.06b Malabu Oil Block: Adoke’s illness stalls EFCC’s interrogation

$1.06b Malabu Oil Block: Adoke’s illness stalls EFCC’s interrogation

*Commission sends doctor to attend to him

* Lawyer wants suspect transferred to a medical facility, demands bail

The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), is down with an illness in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), TheNation report.

Adoke is said to be having spinal pain. He was arrested by the agency on Thursday in Abuja, moments after he returned to Nigeria from Dubai. He has since been undergoing interrogation on the sale of the $1.06b Malabu Oil Block.

But the interrogation was suspended yesterday following the illness, The Nation learnt Saturday night. The EFCC has sent a doctor and other medics to attend to the health challenge.

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Sources said the grilling of the ex-AGF might resume on Sunday if he is fit enough to withstand the rigours of interrogation. The doctor’s opinion was being awaited last night. Adoke’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) wants him transferred to a medical facility. He also wants the ex-AGF granted an administrative bail.

But the anti-graft commission has asked Ozekhome to submit a formal letter on his demands tomorrow for consideration on merit. The EFCC has restricted access to Adoke, especially by lawyers, in order to give him a breathing space. Detectives of the EFCC had quizzed Adoke between 11am and 1pm before observing a break.

But Adoke’s health deteriorated and could not resume for another grilling session at 2pm. A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We had resumed the quizzing of Adoke in the presence of a senior lawyer from Ozekhome’s chambers, Mr. Benson Igbanoi.

But the ex-minister complained of spinal challenge, especially back pain, and we could no longer go ahead with his interrogation. “A medical doctor and other medics were provided by the EFCC to attend to the former AGF. They are already tending to his health challenge.

“We are giving him the best medical care befitting of his status. This is to show that EFCC is always adopting international best practices in its operation.

“We are also aware of a common pattern among Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to fall sick as soon as they are called to account for their tenure. But we will give Adoke the benefit of doubt. “We are hopeful that Adoke’s interrogation will continue on Sunday (today) if his health is stable enough.”

When contacted, Ozekhome said: “We are appealing to the EFCC to transfer Adoke to a medical facility where he can receive adequate attention. We have also requested for an administrative bail for him. “The truth is that Adoke is medically unwell. His health challenge in detention has proved that he did not go for shopping in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

He went for medical treatment where INTERPOL intercepted him. “But the EFCC said it cannot receive any letter at weekends. We will approach the commission on our requests formally on Monday. If granted bail, I can assure you that our client will make himself available to EFCC any time.”

EFCC on Friday secured an order from Justice Othman Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to detain Adoke for 14 days. This followed an ex-parte application by the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu through a three-man legal team comprising Aisha A. T. Habib; Faruk Abdullahi and Fatima Mustapha.

The motion was brought “pursuant to Section 6(6) and 35 (1c) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended). The EFCC sought for an “order remanding the suspect (Adoke) in the custody of the EFCC for 14 days pending investigation.”

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