Federal High Court discharges Adoke from EFCC’s 7-year-old money laundering suit

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday has discharged a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, from a seven-year-old money laundering suit instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

NewsTimes recalls that Adoke and the Chairman of AA Oil, Aliyu Abubakar, were arraigned before the court on an amended 14 counts bordering on money laundering, in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CR/39/17.

But they have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and trial commenced.

The anti-graft agency alleged Adoke received  cash payment worth N300 million from Abubakar in August 2013, in Abuja, without going through a financial institution as required by law.

Seven years down the line, the EFCC presented witnesses to testify and subsequently closed its case against the duo.

But counsel for Adoke, Kanu Agabi SAN, filed a “no-case submission”  insisting that the EFCC could not establish its case against his client.

Among other things, the EFCC was said to have not complied “with the mandatory provisions of Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) with regards to the necessity to include the list of witnesses among the proof of evidence and summary of the witness statement.”

The case was then adjourned  till today for judgement.

What the judge said

On Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo upheld the no case submission of Adoke, agreeing that he has no case to answer.

The judge said that the law has always been that the essential ingredient for the offence of conspiracy is inferred from acts that are proved.

He added,

  • ” I have studied the evidence of PW1, PVW2, PW3, PW4, PW5, PW6, PW7, PW8 and PW9 to see where all or any of them gave evidence concerning the allegation in count 1 from where this Court can make inference of any circumstantial nature and found none.
  • “I find no prima facie evidence established on account of the allegation on Count 1 and I so hold.”
  • The judge subsequently discharged Adoke but ordered his co-defendant to open his defense.

He said,

  • “On the case concerning the 1st Defendant, I rule as follows:
  • “I find that there is no evidence to prove the essential elements  of the alleged offences in counts 1, 2, 3, and 4 against the 1st Defendant and I so hold.
  • “Upon the above, I also find that the evidence of the Prosecution against the 1st  Defendant is manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal or Court can safely convict on it and I so hold.
  • “Consequently, the no-case submission of the 1st Defendant is upheld.
  • “I make an order discharging and acquitting the 1st Defendant of the allegations in Counts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the charge against him.
  • ” On the other hand, it is my finding that the Prosecution has made out a prima facie case against the 2nd Defendant with respect to Counts 5, 6, 8 and 9, therefore, the no case submission of the 2 Defendant with respect to these counts has failed.
  • “Consequently, I make an order for the 2nd Defendant to enter his defence in respect of Counts 5, 6, 8 and 9 of the charge sheet.”

What you should know

  • Mr Adoke was appointed the minister of justice and Attorney general of the federation on April 6, 2010.
  • He was arraigned alongside Mr Aliyu o before Justice Binta Nyako and subsequently re-arraigned on June 17, 2020, before Justice Ekwo on the same count charge.

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