The federal government has filed criminal charges against Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of HEDA Resource Centre, at a federal high court, Abuja, over allegations of circulating the audio of a stage-managed phone interview with Mohammed Bello Adoke, a former attorney-general of the federation, The Cable reports.

The activist is also accused of circulating an allegedly forged email attributed to Adoke in which he was said to have communicated with JP Morgan over the OPL 245 transaction in 2011.

Suraju is accused of committing cyber crime in the four-count charge.

No date has been fixed for Suraju’s arraignment in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/370/2021 and dated October 8, 2021.

Adoke had petitioned the inspector-general of police over the circulation of the audio and email which he said were forged to implicate him in the OPL 245 trial in Milan, Italy.

The Italian court has since dismissed allegations of corruption in the OPL 245 deal while the prosecutors are being investigated over alleged falsification and manipulation of evidence.

THE FOUR CHARGES

The criminal charges, endorsed by A. O. Shaibu, deputy director, Aminu Kayode Alilu, chief state counsel and Y.A Cole, assistant chief state counsel, in the ministry of justice, are as follows.

COUNT ONE: That you Olanrewaju Suraju, Male, of 20, Mojidi Street, Ikeja, Lagos, sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally circulate an audio telephone interview alleged to have occurred between one Miss Carlamaria, rumour a reporter with RIA in Italy, and Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN via your Twitter handle @HEDAagenda which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult to Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC) Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

COUNT TWO: That you Olanrewaju Suraju, Male, of 20, Mojidi Street, Ikeja, Lagos, sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally circulate an audio telephone interview alleged to have occurred between one Miss Carlamaria, rumour a reporter with RIA in Italy, and Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN via your Facebook page with the handle @HEDAresourcecentre which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult to Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC) Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

COUNT THREE: That you Olanrewaju Suraju, Male, of 20, Mojidi Street, Ikeja, Lagos, sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally circulate an email dated 21st June, 2011 with the email address agroupproperties@yahoo.com owned by A Group Properties and received by a certain Osoluke Bayo O with the email address address bayo.o.osoluke@jpmorgan which you knew to be false via your Twitter handle @HEDAagenda for the purpose of causing insult to Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC) Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

COUNT FOUR: That you Olanrewaju Suraju, Male, of 20, Mojidi Street, Ikeja, Lagos, sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally circulate an email dated 21st June, 2011 with the email address agroupproperties@yahoo.com owned by A Group Properties and received by a certain Osoluke Bayo O with the email address address bayo.o.osoluke@jpmorgan which you knew to be false via your Facebook page with the handle @HEDAresourcecentre for the purpose of causing insult to Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition and Prevention ETC) Act 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

Adoke had debunked claims he had a phone conversation with an Italian journalist in 2017 in which he was said to have acknowledged that the OPL 245 deal was a scam.

He 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 also said the email in question was intended to support the claim that there was corruption in the deal, to create the impression that he and Abubakar Aliyu “worked together” to fleece Nigeria.

Adoke said 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 minister, through his lawyers, petitioned the IGP requesting for a investigation of the allegations levelled against him.

In a letter addressed to Adoke and dated September 2, Ibrahim Musa, head of IGP monitoring team, said an investigation had been conducted on the claims.

The police 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.

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