Mohammed Bello Adoke, a former Nigerian attorney-general, has been held in Dubai by Interpol, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
People familiar with the development said Mr Adoke was arrested shortly after arriving in Dubai on November 11. He had travelled there for medical evaluation after a court warrant for his arrest was vacated in October.
Justice Danladi Z. Zenchi of the Federal Territory High Court had in April issued a warrant for Mr Adoke’s arrest following an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC has been pursuing Mr Adoke over claims he was involved in the controversial Malabu Oil deal. Mr Adoke strongly denied links to the alleged fraud, and has been on self-exile since vacating office in May 2015.
He has repeatedly cited a court judgment that said he could not be prosecuted for actions he took while in office based on presidential directives.
Justice Zenchi invalidated the arrest warrant on October 25 based on prayers from Mr Adoke’s lawyers who argued that the order was wrongfully procured.
The judge also asked the EFCC which seeks to prosecute Mr Adoke to serve him the court papers by substituted means.
In her ruling that day, the judge, after hearing the submissions of all the counsel, and upon perusal of all the affidavits in support of their motions, made the following orders:
“The arrest warrant issued for the arrest of the 4th-9th defendants in charge No FCT/HC/CR/124/2017 and to be executed by the police and the Interpol is declared null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“Accordingly, the order of 17th April 2019 issuing a bench warrant on the 4th-9th defendants is hereby set aside and vacated.
“It is further ordered that the case be adjourned sine die until the prosecution takes the required procedural steps to effect service on the defendants herein.”
It appears the Nigerian authorities failed to update Interpol overseas of the development.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Interpol officials in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, were shocked when Mr Adoke told them the warrant for his arrest had since been vacated and that there was no basis to hold him.
Our sources said Interpol authorities in the UAE have now requested the Nigerian authorities to officially update it on the matter.
The Ministry of Justice in Abuja has been working on transmitting the order to Interpol in Dubai to secure Mr Adoke’s release, but the process was being delayed because Attorney-General Abubakar Malami was not available, sources said.
Mr Malami could not be reached Sunday afternoon for comment. A spokesperson for Interpol told PREMIUM TIMES the headquarters cannot speak on Mr Adoke’s case because it specifically relates to the UAE.
Nigeria recently signed a mutual legal assistance treaty with the UAE that would, among others, ensure Nigerians accused of corruption and fraud, can be arrested in the UAE and deported to Nigeria to face prosecution. Such persons could also have their properties in that country seized.