New Telegraph

How Police indicted Lanre Suraju after Adoke’s petition on forgery

Juliana Francis

Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), has been indicted of falsehood and cyberstalking in the probe of an allegation that an e-mail and phone conversation attributed to Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, former Attorney-General of the Federation, was forged.

Suraju was indicted by an investigation carried out by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Team in Abuja.

Adoke was said to have communicated with JP Morgan, the US investment bank, in June 2011 over OPL 245 transaction between Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Shell and Eni.

He was accused of communicating via the address of a company owned by Aliyu Abubakar, who was also on trial in Italy.

The e-mail was intended to support the claim that there was corruption, alleging that Adoke and Abubakar “worked together” on the deal.

Adoke had discredited the e-mail, saying he was no longer minister as of the date it was sent and had no reason to use another person’s e-mail address.

The former AGF also debunked claims he had a phone conversation with an Italian journalist in 2017 where he was said to have acknowledged that the OPL245 deal was a scam.

Adoke said the phone conversation was state-managed, adding that he was on self-exile at the time and had stopped using a Nigerian line since June 2015.

The former minister, through his lawyers, had petitioned the IGP requesting for an investigation of the allegations levelled against him.

In a letter addressed to Adoke and dated September 2, Ibrahim Musa, head of the IGP’s Monitoring Team, said an investigation has been conducted on the claims.

The police said Suraju did not verify the phone tape and email before sharing on social media.

It accused the HEDA Chairman of falsehood, saying his act is “a calculated attempt to resort to media trial and to falsify relationship” between Adoke and Abubakar.

“A thorough investigation was carried out and in the course of investigation, it was evident that Mr Olarenwaju Suraju of Human and Environmental Development Agenda – an unregistered organisation, without verifying the authenticity of the purported telephone interview and email proceeded to use the social media handle of @ HedaAgenda on Twitter and @HedaResourceCentre on Facebook to disseminate same,” the letter reads.

“And when invited by the Police to substantiate his claims, he feigned sickness, jumped bail and resorted to issuing press statements maligning the Police, writing frivolous counter petitions and filing civil suits in Court against the IGP Monitoring Unit, Force Headquarters, Abuja and the Police, aimed to undermine the investigation and to evade the course of justice;

“That the claims made by Mr. Olarewaju Suraju that, his foreign partners, national and international media agencies are the authors of the information he shared is misleading as he was the one issuing the press statements that were published by these media agencies;

“That the totality of the conduct of Olarewaju Suraju is a calculated attempt to resort to media trial and to falsify relationship between Mohamed Bello Adoke, SAN, and Aliyu Abubakar while their cases are still ongoing in Court, thereby misleading the public, of which elements of a prima facie case of cyber-stalking, giving false information to misled public officer, injurious falsehood and criminal defamation with intent to incite exist.”

The Italian court has since dismissed allegations of corruption in the OPL 245 case while the Italian prosecutors are facing disciplinary hearing over suspected forgery of evidence against Shell and others.

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