Court fixes May 17 for EFCC’s report in ex-Petroleum Minister Diezani’s trial | Ripples Nigeria
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Court fixes May 17 for EFCC’s report in ex-Petroleum Minister Diezani’s trial

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Court set to arraign Diezani on October 3

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, March 3, fixed May 17 for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to give a report on how it has complied with the court order in the trial of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date following the absence of the EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, in court.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that that the matter, which was earlier fixed for report or arraignment of the ex-minister, could not proceed as neither Abdullah nor Diezani was in court.

When the matter was called, no lawyer appeared for the prosecution.

Justice Ojukwu, who fixed May 17 for a report on EFCC’s compliance with the court order, directed the court registrar to issue the prosecution (EFCC) counsel with the next hearing notice.

The court had, on December 3, 2020, adjourned the matter until March 3, 2021, following the inability of the anti-graft agency to fully comply with its orders in the trial of Diezani.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date after counsel to the EFCC, 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 in 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 had said.

Read also: How I took $70m to Abuja-based banker on Diezani’s instructions —Witness

The judge had, on October 28, 2020, 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 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.

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