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Four Years Wasted’ — Judge Berates EFCC For Filing Frivolous Charges Against Ex-AGF Adoke

ABUBAKAR Kutigi, judge of a federal capital territory (FCT) high court, has chastised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for filing “frivolous” charges against Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice.

At the court session on Thursday, Kutigi upheld the no-case submission filed by Adoke and dismissed the charges of fraud, bribery and conspiracy against the former minister on the grounds that the EFCC failed to adduce credible evidence to prove the allegations contained in the charge.

Although the judge commended the prosecution for conceding that it did not have sufficient evidence to oppose the no-case application by Adoke, he criticised the anti-graft agency for wasting four years prosecuting the case.


The judge added that the defendants ought not to have been charged in the first instance.

The judge further noted that a charge must not be filed just for the purpose of filing, adding that a frivolous charge does damage to the judicial system.

“It is argued that people can be arrested circumstantially,” the judge said.

“But every trial, more so, a criminal trial is a different ball game which must be undertaken with utmost care and attention to details, particularly, the quality of the evidence and availability of witnesses.

“It cannot be right or fair, that in this case, for example, nearly about 30 counts in the case involving forgery, the documents subject to these counts were not presented in evidence and material evidence led to situate the elements of forgery.

“If as stated by the lead investigator, PW10, that they demanded for about 37 documents from the CAC but only a few were made available, this then begs the question, why a charge will be filed involving those documents the prosecution does not have access to?

“I must therefore make the point that the whole trial process whatever its inherent imperfection is entirely evidence driven, evidence which requires quality and probative value.

“This is so whether it is at this stage of situating a prima facie, as in the present situation, or at the point of determining guilt, or otherwise of the defendants.

“Without evidence in either of the two situations, it is self evident that such a case stands compromised ab initio.

“On the whole, the prosecution has failed to prove the essential elements of the offences for which the defendants were charged and accordingly, the no case submission has considerable merit and must be sustained.

“To allow this proceedings to continue having regard to the totality of evidence laid bare on the record by the prosecution is to inflict undue hardship and injustice on the defendants.

“They ought not to have stood trial in the first place if the evidence on record was all the prosecution had to offer.

“The legal consequence of a successful submission of no case to answer is that such a discharge is equivalent to an acquittal, and dismissal of the charge on the merits.

“In my final analysis, and for the avoidance of doubt, my firm decision on the basis of the provision of section 302 of the ACJA 2015 is that the evidence adduced by the prosecution on record is not sufficient to justify the continuation of this trial.

“For this reason, I hereby preclude them from entering upon their defence.

“And accordingly, I hereby dismiss, I hereby discharge the defendants of all the entirity of the charge preferred against them.”


The EFCC had charged Adoke before the FCT high court, Abuja, on January 15, 2020, along with Aliyu Abubakar, Gbinije of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd, Shell Ultra Deep Nigeria Ltd, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Ltd (SNEPCo).

Adoke was accused of collecting a gratification of N300 million from Abubakar over the OPL 245 resolution.

He was accused of conspiring with other defendants to “commit the offence of public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to cause injury or to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture”.

The former AGF was accused of “knowingly disobeying direction of law” by allegedly “saving Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Nigeria Exploration Company Limited from charges of taxes”.

Adoke denied all allegations, maintaining that he was a victim of political victimisation by former president Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of the Abacha family who felt cheated in the OPL 245 transaction.

Adoke and five other defendants were discharged of all the charges, leaving Gbinije, the third defendant to open his defence in the remaining counts. [TheCable]

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