EFCC Sacks Top Prosecutor For Receiving Bribes From Ex-Government Officials To Sabotage Malabu Oil Fraud Case

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly sacked its top prosecutors for allegedly receiving bribes to sabotage the Malibu OPL 245 fraud case.

 

The Gazette reported the Mr. Offem Uket who earlier handled cases involving former federal lawmaker, Senator Stella Oduah, Peter Nwaoboshi and Sambo Dasuki, was one of the sacked prosecutors.

 

Officials managing the situation said that the EFCC authorities moved quickly to castigate Uket as the wellspring of untold humiliation the agency suffered in court after he suddenly said there was no inculpatory evidence to send former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke and another suspect Abubakar Aliyu to jail or foist criminal liability on Eni and Shell.

 

Multiple officials briefed on the matter said that Uket’s service was reportedly terminated because the EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede, was particularly incensed by the prosecutor’s alleged misconduct.

 

An official of the EFCC familiar with the situation was quoted as saying that “He was sacked because extensive internal investigation revealed he compromised the case. But this may not be the end of the matter.”

 

The anti-corruption commission received a severe reprimand from Justice Abubakar Kutigi of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court last week during a verdict on the criminal bribery case involving former attorney-general Bello Adoke, the proprietors of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, and multinational giants Eni and Shell.

 

Justice Kutigi threw out the case, which the EFCC first filed in 2020 before the FCT High Court, Abuja, saying the EFCC wasted four years yet was still unable to prove key elements of its indictment.

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However, the official said the EFCC planned to fight to resuscitate the case through an appeal process because there was enough evidence against the suspects and Uket went rogue in his submission declaring otherwise before the court.

 

The anti-graft agency initially tried to save the case in Justice Kutigi’s courtroom, but Adoke and Wole Olanipekun who is the defence counsel for Abubakar filed opposing motions and the judge said it was already too late.

 

Meanwhile, prior to his controversial submission that led to the granting of the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, Uket had reportedly told some of his office that he was under pressure to accept bribes from Messrs Adoke and Olanipekun, officials said under anonymity to discuss an active investigation.

 

Another official was quoted as saying that “He reported to the office that he was under pressure of financial inducement from Bello Adoke and Wole Olanipekun over the case.”

 

“But we thought he was just following internal ethical compliance by informing the office, we didn’t know this would happen.”

 

One of the officials said Uket’s contract was not renewed as part of the fallout from the botched trial, adding that he departed on a good note with the agency’s executives.

 

One official said that “His contract expired around the time he was accused of sabotaging the Malabu case,” adding that “That’s why it was amicably decided that he should not be granted a renewal.”

 

However, officials did not immediately convey whether or not the probe would remain limited to Uket or be expanded to include those suspected of having offered bribes to the ousted prosecutor.

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Whereas Olanipekun have reportedly declined comments on the matter, Adoke has denied offering bribes to the EFCC official.

 

Adoke accused the EFCC of being out to further besmirch his reputation after beating the agency’s charges in several courts in and out of Nigeria.

 

He was quoted as saying, “Not in this world would I offer Uket bribe or anyone for that matter. It is unfortunate that anyone would come up with such a lame excuse. I have no reason to offer Uket or anyone bribe.

 

“Don’t forget that they lost their cases in London and Milan, and the U.S. Department of Justice and SEC found nothing wrong with the transaction, and ditto the Dutch government. The claim is utterly ridiculous, cynical, and irresponsible.”

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