By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
One of the leading anti-corruption groups in the UK, the Corner House, has asked the United Kingdom (UK) to probe allegations by Nigerian former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, that the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) that aided his conviction in Milan, Italy, on the Oil Processing License 245 scam was forged.
Persecondnews recalls that Adoke had written a petition to the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, claiming that the legal instrument deployed to aid his conviction in Italy over the OPL 245 scam was forged.
Leading global coalition against corruption including Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA), Re-Common, Water House and a host of others had provided technical assistance in exposing alleged corrupt practices involving Oil giants, Eni and Shell.
In a petition addressed to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab, the Corner House asked the UK to investigate Adoke’s allegations saying that it represents a challenge to the United Kingdom legal institution.
A copy of the petition was also sent to President Mohammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).
The Corner House petition signed by its Co-Director, Nicholas Hildyard, said Adoke’s allegations engage the Foreign Office because someone in a foreign jurisdiction has questioned the authenticity of the UK’s MLA response.
The group further cautioned the Nigerian police to recognize the international dimension the case has taken, and not allow individuals to subvert the institutions of justice in Nigeria.
According to the group, the proper place for Adoke to have challenged the veracity of the email was in the court room in Milan, where it was used as evidence against him and the oil giants.
Following Adoke’s petition, the Inspector General’s office summoned HEDA’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, Abuja, in relation to Adoke’s allegations.
The Corner House stated: “We are concerned that this pattern may repeat itself. We recognize that it is entirely plausible that the email itself may not have been written or sent by Adoke. As his lawyers have stated it may have been sent on his behalf.
“However, we categorically deny that we forged the email. Indeed, the notion that a document furnished by the UK in response to an MLA is a forgery is both entirely fanciful and highly damaging to the UK’s reputation as a trusted party to the MLA process.
“The documentation is now part of the public record and it is clear from the correspondence that the email was obtained from JP Morgan by the UK Serious Fraud Office and transmitted directly to the Milan Prosecutor.”
The OPL scandal involves graft allegations against Shell and Eni acquisition of the oil field, which prompted the Federal Government of Nigeria to sue JP Morgan Chase in the English High Court, for damages relating to the bank’s handling of funds arising from the deal.