The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, fixed March 3, 2021, for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fully comply with its orders in the trial of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date after counsel to the EFCC, Farouk Abdullah, prayed the court for more time to enable the anti-graft agency to ensure full compliance with the court orders.
“The court made some orders on the last date that this matter came up.
The prosecutions has taken steps to ensure that the orders are complied with; that has not come to fruition yet but steps have been taken.
“In view of this, may I humbly apply that this matter be adjourned to enable the prosecution to comply fully with the order of the court,” Abdullah said.
Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter until March 3, 2021, for the report on the prosecution’s effort and for the possible arraignment of the former minister.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the judge had, on Oct. 28, refused to grant the EFCC’s application seeking the court order on the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke.
Ojukwu held that an affidavit with evidence in support to prove that the earlier court summon granted the agency had failed in the extradition of Diezani must be filed by the commission before another request could be made.
Ojukwu noted that the EFCC had informed the court that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice hinted that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the international police (INTERPOL) the impetus to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
The judge, however, said it would give the anti-graft agency a room to put its house in order in the trial of the ex-minister because court orders were not made in vain.
Abdullah had, in an application, urged the court to issue an arrest warrant against Alison-Madueke, who is believed to be in the UK, to enable all law enforcement agencies and the INTERPOL to arrest her anywhere she is sighted and be brought before the court to answer to the allegation made against her before the court.”
He said since the summon had not been able to achieve the desired result, the need for a warrant of arrest cannot be over-emphasised.
NAN reports that the court had, on July 24, ordered the former minister to appeal before it and answer to the money laundering charge filed against her by the EFCC.
The judge gave the ruling on an ex-parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 brought by the EFCC’s lawyer, Abdullah.
The EFCC had accused the former minister of fleeing the country for the UK in order to escape justice.
The lawyer, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said it sought to question Alison-Madueke, without success, in relation to many allegations against her, including “her role as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) to Septa Energy Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited by NNPC.
He said it also wanted Alison-Madueke to respond to questions about “her role in the chartering of private jets by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Ministry of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of contracts by NNPC to Marine and Logistics Services Limited.”
Abdallah said the agency was investigating Alison-Madueke‘s business relationships with Mr Donald Amamgbo, Mr Afam Nwokedi, Chief lkpea Leemon, Miss Olatimbo Bukola Ayinde, Mr Benedict Peters, Christopher Aire, Harcourt Adukeh, Julian Osula, Dauda Lawal, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Mr Leno Laithan, Sahara Energy Group and Midwestern Oil Limited.
He added that Alison-Madueke was also required to clear the air on “her role in financing the 2015 general elections, particularly the money that were warehoused at Fidelity Bank Plc in 2015 prior to the elections.”
He said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and pieces of jewellery recovered from her house at No: 10, Chiluba Close, off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified property that were linked to her In Nigeria, UK, United States of America (USA), United Arab Emirate (UAE) and South Africa.