A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Jabi, on Thursday, dismissed charges of fraudulent conduct in the handling of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 (popularly referred to as the Malabu Oil deal) brought against a former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The anti-graft agency had charged Adoke before the FCT High Court, Abuja, on January 15, 2020, along with Aliyu Abubakar, Gbinije of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd, Shell Ultra Deep Nigeria Ltd, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Ltd (SNEPCo).

The former AGF was accused of collecting a gratification of N300m from Abubakar over the OPL 245 resolution.

He denied all allegations.

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However, ruling  on a “no case” submission made by Adoke,  Justice Abubakar Kutigi, upheld that the EFCC failed to prove its charges and ruled that the defendant has no case to answer.

He discharged and acquitted the former minister on all counts.

The judge, who noted that the charge was not well drafted and prosecuted, asked the prosecuting counsel to refrain from filing such a charge in the future.

The issue has been on since April 9, 1998 when the then Federal Military Government awarded OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd,  said to be owned mainly by Mohammed Abacha, son of former military ruler, Sani Abacha, and Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister at the time.

President Olusegun Obasanjo, meanwhile, revoked Malabu’s licence and assigned the oil block to Shell.

Malabu then went to court, and ownership was reverted to it in 2006 after it reached an out-of-court settlement with the Federal Government.