Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) request for more time to produce a former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to face her money laundering charges.
The judge had on July 24, 2020, issued criminal summons against the ex-minster to appear in court to face trial.
But Diezani, who is believed to have left the country for the United Kingdom shortly after leaving office in May, 2015, had refused to heed to the summons.
Due to the ex-minister’s failure to honour the summons, the EFCC on October 28, 2020, urged the court to issue a warrant for her arrest.
But the judge declined the request, citing the commission’s failure to enforce the criminal summons she had earlier issued against the defendant.
She said the criminal summons ought to be sufficient for the commission to process her extradition to Nigeria to face her trial.
Yesterday, EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Farouk Abdullah, pleaded for more time to enable the anti-graft agency to enforce the summons issued against the former minister.
Abdullah said, “The prosecution 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 comply fully with the order of the court.”
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 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 Jeweleries 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.
The judge then adjourned the matter till March 3, 2020, for report of prosecution’s effort to produce the defendant in court and for possible arraignment.
The EFCC had alleged that Diezani escaped the country shortly after her tenure as the minister of petroleum resources got wind of the plan to charge her with various offences.
The commission on November 11, 2018, filed the 13 counts of money laundering to justify the bid to have her extradited to Nigeria.
Diezani was accused of, among others, unlawfully taking into her possession, the sums of $39.7million and N3.32billion when she reasonably ought to have known that the money formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activities.
She was said to have purchased choice landed assets with the money using different fronts as the owners.
Senators Fault Buhari’s Planned Farm Settlements
Some senators have expressed concerns over plans by the regime of President. Muhammadu Buhari, to establish farm settlements in each of the 108 senatorial districts in Nigeria.
They noted that any arrangement to acquire land by the Federal Government at the moment without giving details of what it would be used for, might face stiff resistance from various communities.
The President had last month, directed the National Agricultural Land Development Authority to set up the integrated farm estates in 108 senatorial districts nationwide.
Already, the policy has been greeted with criticisms from the leadership of the various ethnic groups in the middle belt, and southern part of the country, describing it as an attempt in disguise, to create grazing areas for cattle.
The Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, Matthew Urhoghide, said the Federal Government should give details of the project before approaching state governments for land allocation.
He said, “We are in the Senate to represent our people. I know what my people want
“What we quarrel against is open grazing; we are not against ranching. We are not saying that a Fulani man that has a herd of cattle cannot come to the South to do the business of ranching but he cannot come to carry out open grazing.
“Grazing has two effects. It leads to wanton destruction of farmland. You cannot use animal husbandry to destroy crop farming. There are also criminal cases associated with it including murder.
“If the Federal Government is coming to get land in my state for ranching, it is okay because we need beef, which would be richer, when it is from the ranching system.
“However, the government should make its intention very clear on the policy to avoid major clashes and crisis.”
Similarly, Senator Abba Moro, representing Benue South in the red chamber said government could make arrangements for herders to do the business of ranching but not at the expense of the farmers.
He advised the Federal Government to go to the drawing board and come up with a modern arrangement to make ranching the way to go.
He said, “When government policies are viewed with suspicion, when citizens lack trust in government policies, then something is wrong.
“Until we address the root causes of conflicts between herders and farmers, and genuinely come out with the right way to go through dialogue, any policy that is thrown at the citizens will be looked at with suspicion which would cause some level of tension.
Senator Wants Improved Network For Results Transmission
The Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, says Nigeria requires 95 per cent of national network coverage to enable electronic transmission of election results in the country.
Kalu said this in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Abuja.
Recall that 52 senators on July 15 voted against electronic transmission of results in the forthcoming general election while 28 voted for and 28 absentees.
The senators insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission should be compelled to seek clearance from Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) while the National Assembly would have to approve the verdict of NCC.
Kalu, insisted the current network coverage was inadequate.
“I have never been against transmission of results , I only said we don’t have adequate coverage where we live,this is the issue.
“We have coverage, but it is not adequate.
‘Like Abia North Senatorial District where I come from, there is no adequate coverage, may be 43 per cent coverage, so how are we going to do that.
“ I believe in electronic transmission,but I want to quickly urge the NCC to deploy their technology to ensure wider coverage; I believe in that process because it is transparent.
“ I don’t want to listen to officials who want to buy equipment and make commissions, I am telling myself the truth, if we even have a coverage of 95 per cent it will be okay, but we have below 50 per cent in the entire country.
“I am not talking about my constituency.
“ It wasn’t a party decision to vote against e transmission and not a clique decision, it was out of my conscience.
“ I can only do what I will do that will benefit all Nigerians,” Kalu said.
Igbo Stakeholders Decry Absence Of S’East Govs At Forum
The absence of four Governors of the South-East in the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting held last Thursday in Enugu has been strongly condemned by members of the Concerned Igbo Stake-holders Forum (CISF).
The leader of the group, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa told newsmen in Enugu that there was no justifiable reason that would be enough for these governors to be absent in a meeting of such magnitude.
According to him, it was wrong particularly coming at a time when the region is battling socio-economic and security concerns stemming from the sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
His words: “The absence of the Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Imo and Anambra States leaves a lot to question the commitment of these governors to the growth and advancement of the South-East in missing a crucial meeting held within their geopolitical zone.
He further described as very disturbing the conspicuous absence of the Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, or a representative from the state at the meeting.
Okenwa said that the body language of the South-East governors in recent times leaves no one to doubt that these governors have magnified their interest above that of the region and Ndi-Igbo in general.
“Their gaze at the forthcoming elections in 2023 is becoming an unbearable distraction for them in delivering their mandate to the people,” he also lamented.
The group, therefore beckoned on Ndi-Igbo, regardless of political party affiliation, to unite and formidably negotiate a favourable space in the political scheme of things.
According to him, when this is done, we will ensure an unhindered growth and development of all Igbos, he added.
By: Canice Amadi, Enugu
- Sports4 days ago
Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0
- Sports5 days ago
Youth Basketball Festival Has Discovered Talents – Coach
- Editorial4 days ago
That Desecration Of NDA
- Politics4 days ago
Perspective On NASS 2% Budget Spending
- Rivers4 days ago
KYC Alleges Sabotage Over Trans Kalabari Road
- Niger Delta4 days ago
Jonathan Wants NARD To Suspend Strike
- Niger Delta4 days ago
C’River LG Staff Protest Unpaid Salaries
- Sports5 days ago
Former Kenya’s Minister Pays Fine, Skips Jail