Fri, 03 Jul 2020

Nigeria's former justice minister has been detained in Dubai in connection with one of the West African country's biggest ever corruption scandals, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Mohammed Adoke, who also held the post of attorney general, was "abruptly arrested by Interpol" on November 11 after going to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment, lawyer Mike Ozekhome said.

A Nigerian court in April ordered arrest warrants for Adoke and former petroleum minister Dan Etete, over the corruption scandal centred on a $1.3 billion oil deal involving international giants Eni and Shell.

But Ozekhome insisted that the warrants were subsequently quashed by the Nigerian court and that the former official was being "illegally" kept in custody.

"I therefore call on the Dubai authorities and Interpol to release Mr. Adoke, to enable him to undergo his treatment," he said.

Nigeria's attorney general said his office was yet to receive any formal communication on the detention and could not confirm Adoke had been arrested.

The was no comment from the authorities in Dubai on the matter.

Adoke and Etete have both been in hiding outside Nigeria for years in the face of accusations over the case dubbed the "Malabu scandal" after a key company reportedly involved in the deals.

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

The allegations have led to a string of cases in a number of countries that have led to convictions in Italy and a probe against Shell in the Netherlands.

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