Alleged Defamation: Adoke Asks London Court to Award Cost Against Malami
The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), has applied to a London court to award cost against his successor and incumbent AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN), along with the Federal Government, for allegedly defaming him in their statements filed regarding the ongoing proceedings on the $9.6bn P&ID arbitral award.
Adoke, in the application filed at the Commercial Court of the Property and Business Courts of England and Wales in London, on August 13, 2020, described some referenced portions of the said Malami’s witness statements filed in defence of Nigeria’s case at the court as defamatory, scandalous and malicious against him.
Asking the court to award cost in his favour and against Malami “on indemnity basis”, Adoke stated that “the conduct of HAGF(Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation, Malami)/Federal Republic of Nigeria is reprehensible”.
He also urged the court to delete the alleged offensive portions of the said statements.
Malami had filed the two statements as a witness in defence of the Federal Government at the London court on December 5, 2019, and March 6, 2020, seeking to have the $9.6bn arbitral award issued against Nigeria and in favour of a British Virgin Island firm, Process and Industrial Development, upturned.
Via July 29, 2020 letter authored and signed by his lawyer, Paul Erokoro (SAN), Adoke asked Malami to retract some referenced portions of his statements, tender an apology for the alleged damage done to his name by the claims, and pay monetary compensation for the alleged harm, all of which must be done within seven days.
The nine-page letter, titled, ‘False evidence about Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, in the P&ID case being heard in England’, stated that Malami in the statements filed at the London court “repeatedly described” Adoke “as corrupt”.
Adoke’s letter cited various portions of Malami’s witness statements, including parts where the former AGF, was accused of “thinly” defending Nigerian interest at the P&ID arbitration hearing “with a view to ensuring an award in P&ID’s favour”.
He also reproduced all the allegedly offensive paragraphs in the application he filed before the London court.
He denied all the corruption allegations including the one in which he was accused of benefitting from the alleged fraudulent Malabu Oil deals.
Adoke who described Malami’s statements as constituting an act of abuse of his office informed the London court that the allegedly offending comments would lead to a miscarriage of justice in his defence of the criminal charged preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria.
The application read in part, “That the conduct of the Honourable Abubakar Malami as HAGF in submitting the offending statements contained in the fourth and sixth witness statements will result in a miscarriage of justice in my defence of the criminal charges filed against me in Nigeria as the conduct of the HAGF clearly an abuse of office by his breach of section 36(6) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria In breach of his oath of office.
“That although I am a not a party in the Italian criminal proceedings, the prosecutors in the Italian criminal proceedings that was referred to in the 4th and 6th witness statements of Abubakar Malami (HAGF) had been severally criticised for concealing fact unfavourable to the prosecution in the Italian criminal proceedings which is that the N300 million that is alleged that I have received from Malabu Oil was in fact a mortgage loan that I took from Unity Bank Plc in Nigeria to buy a house in Abuja with the purchase price of N500 million, and that when I could not raise the balance of the purchase price of N200 million after the initial payment of N300 million with the mortgage advance secured from Unity Bank Plc, the vendor sold the property to the Central Bank of Nigeria for N500 million and refunded part payment of the purchase price of the property paid wnth the mortgage advance of N300 million secured by from the Unity Bank Plc in discharge of my mortgage Inability to Unity Bank Plc for the release of the We documents of the property.”