By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, July, 24, 2020
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, ordered former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before it and answer to a money laundering charge filed against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Ijeoma Ojkukwu gave the order in a ruling on an ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 brought by the EFCC’s lawyer, Faruk Abdallah.
Ojukwu ordered the issuance of summons on Diezani for her to be arraigned on the charge.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EFCC had accused the former minister of fleeing the country for the United Kingdom (UK) in order to escape justice.
The judge, who ordered that the court’s summons be published on the website of the anti-corruption agency and a national daily in a conspicuous manner, said the development would make it easier for Diezani to be aware of the invitation.
Earlier, 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.
He said there was the need for a court’s summons or arrest warrant to compel her appearance in court.
The lawyer, 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.
He said it also wanted 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.”
Abdallah said the agency was 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.
He 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 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 Oct. 28 for Diezani to attend court for the purpose of her arraignment on the pending money laundering charge.