N10.2billion suit: Adoke’s late response stalls hearing in suit against Melaye

 

…We stand by our allegations against AGF, says Anti-Corruption Network
 
Proceedings were aborted on Thursday in the N10.2billion suit filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) against former lawmaker, Dino Melaye owing to the Adoke’s late service of court process on the defendants.
 
The court was to open hearing in the case on Thursday, but was moved to abort the planned hearing on learning that Adoke served his response on the defendants just the previous day.
 
Defence’s lawyer, Anthony Itedjere, from the firm of Bamidele Aturu and Co, told the court his clients were served the previous day, with copies of Adoke’s “reply on point of law to defendants’ written address filed on September 4, 2013.”
 
He sought for time to examine the documents, a request Justice Olasumbo Goodluck granted. She adjourned to December 5.
 
Adoke was represented by a group of lawyers including five Senior Advocates of Nigeria – Robert Clarke, Bolaji Ayorinde, Ahmed Raji, Babajide Koku and Donald Denigwe.  
 
Adoke had sued Melaye (former House of Representatives member) and a group, Anti-Corruption Network (ACN), accusing them of damaging his reputation in a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan.
 
Melaye and his group had in the petition dated April 11 this year, detailed incidents of alleged graft and “outrageous use of powers against public interest” by the AGF.
 
In the suit, Adoke is among others, claiming N10.2b in damages and cost against Melaye and his group.
 
In their defence, Melaye and ACN urged the court to dismiss the suit. They queried the professional competence and integrity of the AGF.
 
They also raised allegations bothering on corruption and abuse of office, particularly as it relates to Adoke’s alleged role in the controversial Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 allocated to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited owned by former Petroleum Minister, Chief Dan Etete. 
 
They accused Adoke of paying lip service to the fight against corruption and plotting to hobble the nation’s anti-corruption agencies –  Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by allegedly working to “castrate and frustrate them from investigating and prosecuting corruption and other economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.”
 
Adoke, in his response, described allegations contained in the defendants’ defence as “being embarrassing, scandalous, vexatious, disclosing no defence to the action and an abuse of the process of the court.”
 
The defendants consequently filed a counter-affidavit to Adoke’s response. They justified their allegations of corrupt practices and abuse of office against Adoke.
 
They stated that their allegations were intended to rebut Adoke’s claim to being a man of integrity.
 
They argued that the allegations “raise the defence of justification and the roll-up plea to the suit of the plaintiff. The paragraphs contain facts showing why the suit of the plaintiff should be dismissed or not succeed.”
 
Adoke, in his reply of September 4 prayed the court to discountenance the defendants’ argument and strike out the portion of their defence contain allegations of corruption and abuse of office against him.

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