Corruption: Court Turns Down Diezani’s Suit Asking AGF To Bring Her Back To Nigeria For Trial
A Federal High Court seating in Lagos, has turned down former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s suit compelling the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to bring her back to Nigeria to defend an alleged criminal charge bordering on alleged laundering of N450m.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which filed the charges, claimed that the N450m was part of a sum of $115m which Diezani allegedly doled out to compromise the 2015 general elections.
Other defendants in the charge are a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, Mr. Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning and professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.
Both were accused of making a cash transaction of N450m on March 27, 2015, without going through any financial institution.
At the hearing on Tuesday, Diezani’s lawyer, Obinna Onya, had appeared before Justice Aikawa with an application seeking the joining of Diezani as one of the defendants in the charge.
Onya argued that since Diezani’s name had been mentioned in the charge, it would be against her right to fair hearing for the case to proceed without affording her the opportunity to defend herself.
“The statement made by the prosecution means that the applicant (Diezani) is going to be convicted without being given the opportunity to defend herself,” Onya told Justice Aikawa.
The application prayed for an order “mandating the Attorney General of the Federation, being the agent of the complainant, to facilitate the prompt appearance of the applicant in court on the next adjourned date, to take her plea and to defend the allegations made against her in counts 1, 2,3 and 4 of the charge, numbered FHC/L/35c/2017.”
But the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed him, saying the application was not ripe for hearing, as he had yet to be served.
However, Justice Aikawa said the court could not entertain the application until all the parties had been properly served.