The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is expected to begin investigating the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, following an order by his successor and incumbent AGF, Abubakar Malami.
Malami ordered the probe based on a petition by an Abuja-based lawyer, Max Ogar, who alleged that Adoke had exempted a company, Tidex Nigeria Limited (also known as Tidewaters), from criminal prosecution after the company had imported toxins into Nigeria.
According a news report, the letter sent to the EFCC was signed by the AGF’s Special Assistant on Prosecutions, Okoi Obono-Obla. The letter gave the EFCC a three weeks ultimatum to begin investigation and provide a report into the deal Adoke had with the company in 2011.
The letter, which was dated April 11, 2016, had an attachment of Ogar’s petition and a document entitled: “Terms of settlement and non-prosecution agreement between the Federal Government and Tidex Nigeria Limited.”
As part of the agreement between Adoke and Tidex, the company was to pay the sum of $6 million into the Federal Government’s account at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Furthermore, five percent of the agreed sum was to be paid to the Federal Government’s lawyer at the time, Godwin Obla, as legal costs and expenses” incurred by the Federal Government “in connection to the investigation carried out into the conduct of Tidewater”.
The AGF mandated the EFCC to investigate the elements of “economic crime” in the deal and “what did the private citizen do to earn a fee of $300,000 and why didn’t the Solicitor General of the Federation witness the purported agreement?”
The agreement between Adoke and Tidex reads: “Whereas the FGN, through its Attorney General and Minister of Justice has deemed it appropriate to initiate criminal proceedings against Tidewater and Companies in the absence of this agreement arising from the outcome of investigations carried out into the conduct of Tidewater and Companies’ business in Nigeria.
“Whereas the FGN and Tidewater on behalf of Tidewater and Companies now desire to amicably resolve all matters relating to the proposed criminal proceedings under the terms set forth below.
“Now, therefore, in consideration of the mutual promises and releases contained herein and other good and valuable consideration, the FGN and Tidewater for Tidewater and Companies agree as follows:
“1. Finality: (i) Non-prosecution agreement: The FGN agrees that it will not file or seek to file any criminal charges, complaints, allegations, law suits (civil or otherwise), indictments, or causes of action of any kind against Tidewater, or any of the companies arising from any of the facts or allegations relating to the investigations carried out into the conduct of Tidewater and Companies’ business in Nigeria subject matter of the proposed criminal proceedings pursuant to any Nigerian laws and which arise, relate to, or are connected with any failure by Tidewater and/or any of the companies to comply with applicable Nigerian law in relation to the temporary importation of vessels into Nigeria.
“Or in relation to the use of Panalpina entities or other customs brokers, agents to secure permits or waivers from any FGN agency (Panalpina Services), including but not limited to actions under the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, the Criminal Code Act, the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, the Penal Code Act, the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Customs and Excise Management Act and all other related legislations, regulations of any of successive legislations or modifications in relation thereto.”