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Friday, 24 July 2020

Court orders Diezani to surrender for trial

Court orders Diezani to surrender for trial

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Maudeke, to appear before it and answer to a money laundering charge filed against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In a ruling on Friday, on an ex-parte motion, Justice Ijeoma Ojkukwu ordered the issuance of summons on Diezani for her to attend court for the purpose of her arraignment on the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.

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To ensure that Diezani, said to have fled Nigeria for the United Kingdom (UK) was aware of the invitation, Justice Ojukwu ordered that the court’s summons should be published on the website of the EFCC and a national daily in a conspicuous manner.

Justice Ojukwu adjourned till October 28 this year for Diezani to attend court for the purpose of her arraignment on the pending money laundering charge.

EFCC’s lawyer, Faruk Abdallah had, while arguing the motion, noted that since Diezani allegedly fled the country, it was difficult to get her back to respond to the various criminal allegations against her.

Abdallah said there was the need for a court’s summons or arrest warrant to compel her appearance in court.

The EFCC, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said it sought to question Diezani, 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.

The commission said it also wants Diezani 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.

The EFCC said it is investigating Diezani’s business relationships with Mr. Donald Amamgbo, Mr. lgho Sanomi, 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.

It added that Dezani 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 20015 prior to the elections.”

The EFCC said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and jewelleries recovered from her house at No: 10 Chiluba Close off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified properties that are linked to her’ In Nigeria, UK, United States of America (USA), United Arab Emirate (UAE) and South Africa.

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