$180m Halliburton scandal: AGF files N10.2b libel suit against Melaye

(f) at 22-05-2013 01:07PM (6 years ago)

(157 | Upcoming)

•Melaye: we have not been served

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), has filed a N10.2billion libel suit against the Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network, Mr Dino Melaye, and the registered trustees of the non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Besides asking for N10billion as damages for alleged libel, the minister, who is the first public officer in this administration to respond to allegations of corruption against him, has asked for N200million as the cost of litigation.

The minister has assembled an 11-man team for the legal battle, including Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN); Donald Denigwe (SAN); Babajide Koku (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN).

But Melaye said yesterday he was not aware of the suit.

He said: “We have not been served. When we are served, we will consult our lawyers and react appropriately. But I want to say that after he has failed trying to use the police to institute a criminal libel against us, he has finally gone to court and the court will further indict him.”

Adoke said Melaye has damaged his reputation in a publication on April 12, where he accused the minister of corrupt practices, obstruction of justice for corrupt elements and an abuse of power.

In the suit filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the minister asked the court for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining Melaye and other defendants, their servants, agents or privies from further inferring in any manner whatsoever to the plaintiff’s reputation”.

Melaye had raised seven allegations bordering on abuse of office against Adoke. They include the controversial cases on the N150billion allegedly recovered from the convicted former Oceanic Bank Managing Director, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru; the $180million Halliburton scandal and the return of Vaswani brothers to Nigeria after an alleged N2.5billion tax evasion.

Some of the allegations leveled against the AGF by Melaye and the Anti-Corruption Network are as follows:

•That Mrs Ibru, who was convicted by a Federal High Court to six months imprisonment following a fraud, was to forfeit over N150billion in cash and assets. But allegedly she entered into a plea bargain with the AGF in his office and, till date, nothing is heard on the money and the assets.

•That the AGF refused to produce 14 witnesses that were to testify in the $180million (US) Halliburton bribery scandal, which led to the striking out of the case by Justice Abubakar Umar of an Abuja High Court.

•That the AGF allegedly raised a memo on the case of the Vaswani brothers, who were deported for a second time in April 2009 for an alleged N2.5billion tax evasion, that they should be allowed to return to Nigeria.

•That a case of N10billion money laundering against a former Executive Vice –Chairman of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, at a Federal High Court, was struck out by Justice Dan Archibong on the grounds of shoddy prosecution; yet, the AGF allegedly refused to re-file the charges.

But in his statement of claim, Adoke averred that the “defendants deliberately, carelessly and intentionally authorised the publication of the words referred to herein knowing fully well that the words as published and as concerning the plaintiff meant in their natural and ordinary meaning in the estimation of all right thinking persons to be the following:

•“That the plaintiff is a dishonourable person, who associates himself with criminals and economic saboteurs.

•“That the plaintiff, even though a top government official, is sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle the menace of corruption.

•“The plaintiff is dishonest and dishonourable by providing assistance to oil thieves and other criminals.

•“That the plaintiff seeks for and receives bribes or other forms of pecuniary advantage in other to assist the selfish aims of the plaintiff and persons indicted of crime.

•“That the plaintiff is not a fit and proper person to occupy any position of authority or responsibility including that of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“It is further averred that the defamatory publication by the defendants were specifically directed to the plaintiff and no other person.

winace (f) at 22-05-2013 01:47PM
(30152 | Addicted Hero)

Melaye, its ur turn to be serve. Let's see how it goes.