MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Usman, has forwarded the duplicate case file on the investigation of Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) for necessary action.
Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, had lodged a complaint on the circulation of a forged email and stage-managed phone conversation which he said were intended to implicate him in the OPL 245 trial in Italy.
The police said it traced the circulation of the materials to Suraju, Chairman of HEDA Resource Centre, an anti-corruption NGO.
In a letter dated September 20, 2021 and addressed to the AGF, the Head of IGP Monitoring Team, Ibrahim Musa, said he was directed to forward the duplicate file for “vetting, advice and possible prosecution”
letter to the AGF dated September 20 and signed by the Officer-in-Charge of IG Monitoring Unit, ACP Ibrahim Musa, maintained that there was a prima facie case against Suraju and gave details of the investigation procedure.
The letter which was seen by AtlanticNewsonline revealed that from court documents obtained, the said email emanated from one Ismail Aliyu, who described himself as a representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance and was addressed to Bayo Osolake, an employee of the defendant (Abubakar) giving instruction for the transfer of funds.
“This is completely contradictory to what Suraju Olarenwaju has been claiming in some of his press statements that the content of the purported email stated “Dear Sir, kindly find attached document for your information and action, if necessary. Mohammed Bello Adoke.
“That so called attachment in the purported email has not been provided by the suspect (Suraju) who claimed that the copy of the purported email was sent to him by his partners in the United Kingdom and Italy, thereby making the email vague.
“From the investigation
conducted, it is evident that Olarewaju Suraju without verifying the authenticity of the purported telephone interview and email proceeded to use the social media handles @HedaAgenda on Twitter and @HedaResourceCentre on Facebook to disseminate same, 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, complainant (Adoke) and the Police, aimed to undermine the investigation, derail investigation and evade justice.
“That the totality of the conduct of Olarenwaju Suraju is a calculated attempt to subject the complainant to media trial and falsify relationship between the complainant and Aliyu Abubakar while their cases are still ongoing in court, thereby misleading the public.
“Hence a prima facie case of cyber-stalking, giving false information to mislead public officer, injurious falsehood and criminal defamation with intent to incite can be sustained against Mr. Olarenwaju Suraju.
“In consideration of the fact that the case involves a former Public Officer of the Federal Government of Nigeria, who is also being prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General of Federation, and in compliance with the Inspector General of Police directives vide a letter dated 17 September, 2021, the duplicate case file is hereby forwarded to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, for further necessary action,” it said.
Earlier this month, the police force had indicted Suraju of falsehood in the probe of the allegations.
HEDA had alleged that Adoke had communicated with JP Morgan in June 2011 over an OPL 245 transaction between Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Shell and Eni.
Adoke was accused of using the email address of a company owned by Aliyu Abubakar, who was on trial in Italy over the OPL 245 affair.
The email was intended to support the claim that there was corruption in the deal, that Adoke — who was not on trial in Italy — and Abubakar “worked together” to fleece Nigeria in the deal.
However, the former AGF denied the accusation, explaining that he was no longer minister as of the date the mail was sent and had no reason to use another person’s email address.
He also refuted claims that he had a phone conversation with an Italian journalist in 2017 where he was said to have acknowledged that the OPL 245 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.
He requested for an investigation of the allegations against him to be carried out by the IGP.
However, Suraju said that the police report is “fake”, adding that the monitoring team is still conducting its investigation.