Wed, 30 Sep 2020

A Nigerian court on Thursday remanded a former justice minister accused of corruption in custody pending a bail hearing.

Mohammed Adoke who appeared in the high court in the nation's capital Abuja has been charged over a $1.3 billion dollar oil scandal involving international majors Shell and Eni.

Adoke was arrested last month on arrival from the United Arab Emirates where he had been detained on a Nigerian warrant in connection with one of the West African state's biggest-ever corruption scandals.

"Adoke is accused of using public office for gratification," said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a statement.

He was also accused of money laundering and collecting a bribe worth 300 million naira ($800 000, 750 000 euros) to broker the sale of lucrative offshore oil block OPL245 to Shell and Eni.

Adoke pleaded not guilty to the charges along with his co-accused from Shell, Eni and two others.

Judge Abubakar Kutigi ordered that they should be remanded in the custody of EFCC until Monday for a hearing in their bail application.

Both Shell and Eni have denied any wrongdoing in the case dubbed the "Malabu scandal" after the key company involved in the deals.

Adoke was alleged to have collected the bribe from a businessman, Abubakar Aliyu, who has also been charged with him.

Eni and Shell are accused of handing out bribes during the 2011 purchase of OPL245, an offshore oil block, for $1.3 billion.

Former oil minister Dan Etete is still on the run over the scandal.

It was during his time in office in 1998 that Malabu was illegally awarded control of the block.

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