Police submit case to AGF and seek prosecution against HEDA chairman

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The Nigerian Police submitted a case to Federation Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami recommending prosecution of Alanrewaju Suraju, the chairman of HEDA, an anti-corruption organization.

Police recently said a report accusing Suraju of peddling lies against former Federation Attorney General Mohammed Adoke was not false.

HEDA had claimed that its findings indicated that the report did not come from the police.

But a senior official from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Surveillance Unit, the police unit that issued the document, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the document was produced by the leadership of his team.

Mr Adoke, one of those the EFCC is prosecuting for alleged fraud in the OPL 245 saga, commonly known as the Malabu scandal, had petitioned the police accusing some anonymous people of circulating fabricated evidence against him to improperly incriminate him.

The former attorney general said an email submitted to an Italian court was never written by him, as he claims, as was the recording of an alleged interview he gave to a journalist Italian.

Mr Adoke called on the police to help find those who fabricated the evidence and bring them to justice.

In a two-page report previously reported by PREMIUM TIMES, police alleged that Mr. Suraju circulated false information about Mr. Adoke through his organization’s social media accounts without verifying its authenticity.

Malabu and folder

In the letter dated September 20 and addressed to the AGF, the head of the IGP monitoring team, Ibrahim Musa, Deputy Commissioner of Police (ACP), indicated that he had been instructed by the IGP to transmit the duplicate of the file for “verification, opinion and possible prosecution“.

The letter bearing the reference number: CR3100 / IGP.SEC / MU / ABJ / ADM / T.4 / Vol 2/134, is entitled: Transmission of the duplicate file n °: CR: 169/2021: Re: Criminal Conspiracy , Defamation, of character and counterfeit.

It reads in part: “I am instructed by the Inspector General of the Police by a letter n °: SB: 4099 / CP SEC / ABJ / VOL.5 / 12 dated September 17, 2121 to transmit the duplicate of the file concerning the above – subject mentioned for verification, advice and possible prosecution.

Mr. Musa had, on September 2, 2021, submitted his team’s investigation report to the IGP and requested that the file be sent to the AGF. On September 17, IGP Main Staff Officer Idowu Owohunwa wrote to Mr. Musa, saying that the IGP had upheld the recommendations in their memo and ordered strict compliance.

In the letter to AGF, the police said that “the entire conduct of Olanrenwaju Suraju is a calculated attempt to subject the complainant to a media trial and to tamper with the relationship between the complainant and Aliyu Abubakar while their cases are still pending in court, which misleads the public.

“Therefore, a prima facie case of cyberbullying, communication of false information and criminal libel with intent to incite can be brought against Mr. Olarenwaju Suraju. “

Police also accused the activist of using his organization’s social media to spread lies against Mr. Adoke.

Mr Suraju has denied any wrongdoing, saying Mr Adoke’s complaint to the police was intended to distract from investigations into the Malabu saga.

The Malabu controversy

The Malabu case, in which the emails and audio recordings Mr. Adoke complained about, involved the transfer of around $ 1.1 billion by Shell and ENI via the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian petroleum minister , Dan Etete.

Investigators and activists suspect Mr Etete of bribing some senior officials in the Goodluck Jonathan administration after Eni and Shell controversially acquired OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks.

Mr. Etete had awarded the block to his company Malabu Oil and Gas Limited while he was Minister of Petroleum in the government of the late Sani Abacha. As AGF who advised the then Goodluck Jonathan administration on the OPL 245 transactions at the time, Mr. Adoke’s name appeared on several occasions in matters relating to the transaction.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also accused Mr. Adoke of accepting 300 million naira from Abubakar Aliyu, a controversial businessman and one of Mr. Etete’s friends.

Mr Adoke had, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying his transaction with Mr Aliyu was a property purchase deal that broke down after he was unable to increase the monetary balance of the asset.

While Shell and Eni, alongside their executives, were the main defendants in the case in Italy and were acquitted, MM. Adoke, Etete and Aliyu have pending EFCC cases in Nigeria.

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