Alleged corruption: Justice Minister Adoke stalls hearing in N10.2 billion suit

Posted by News Express | 5 October 2013 | 3,595 times

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Late service of court process on the defendants by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has stalled proceedings in the N10.2 billion suit he filed against Otunba Dino Melaye and his and group, the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN).

The court was to open hearing in the case on Thursday, but was had a change of mind on learning that Adoke served his response on the defendants just on the eve of the proposed hearing.

Defence counsel Anthony Itedjere, of Bamidele Aturu and Co, told the court that his clients were served only the previous day, with copies of Adoke’s “reply on point of law to defendants’ written address filed on September 4, 2013.” His requestt for time to examine the documents was granted by Justice Olasumbo Goodluck, who adjourned the case to December 5.

Adoke was represented by a group of lawyers including five Senior Advocates of Nigeria – Robert Clarke, Bolaji Ayorinde, Ahmed Raji, Babajide Koku and Donald Denigwe.  

The Justice Minister had sued Melaye, a former House of Representatives member, and the Anti-Corruption Network, of which he is Executive Secretary, for allegedly damaging his reputation in a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Melaye and ACN had in the April 11, 2013 petition detailed incidents of alleged graft and “outrageous use of powers against public interest” by Adoke, who is, among others, claiming N10.2b in damages and cost.

In their defence, Melaye and ACN urged the court to dismiss the suit, querying Adoke’s professional competence and integrity. They also raised allegations bothering on corruption and abuse of office, particularly as it relates to Adoke’s alleged role in the controversial Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 allocated to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited owned by former Petroleum Minister, Chief Dan Etete. 

They accused Adoke of paying lip service to the fight against corruption and plotting to hobble the nation’s anti-corruption agencies – Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – by allegedly working to “castrate and frustrate them from investigating and prosecuting corruption and other economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.”

Adoke, in his response, described allegations contained in the defendants’ defence as “being embarrassing, scandalous, vexatious, disclosing no defence to the action and an abuse of the process of the court.”

The defendants consequently filed a counter-affidavit to Adoke’s response. They justified their allegations of corrupt practices and abuse of office against Adoke.

They stated that their allegations were intended to rebut Adoke’s claim to being a man of integrity.

They argued that the allegations “raise the defence of justification and the roll-up plea to the suit of the plaintiff. The paragraphs contain facts showing why the suit of the plaintiff should be dismissed or not succeed.”

Adoke, in his reply of September 4 prayed the court to discountenance the defendants’ argument and strike out the portion of their defence contain allegations of corruption and abuse of office against him.

•Photo shows Adoke.

Source: News Express

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