“Order Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to bring me back to Nigeria”, Diezani tells court
Diezani Alison-Madueke Court Trial
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to compel the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to bring her back to Nigeria from the U.K, where she traveled to shortly after leaving office in 2015, NigeriaTrends gathered via Punch Newspapers.
Mrs. Diezani said she would like to appear in court in Nigeria to defend a criminal charge bordering on alleged laundering of N450m, where her name was mentioned.
The main defendants in the charge are a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.
Belgore and Suleiman were charged before Justice Rilwan Aikawa for allegedly collecting N450m from Diezani and laundering same in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
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.
The SAN and the professor were arraigned on five counts, wherein Diezani’s name was mentioned, but she was declared as being “at large.”
At the resumed proceedings in the case on Tuesday, a lawyer, Obinna Onya, appeared before Justice Aikawa with an application seeking the joining of Diezani as one of the defendants in the charge as she’s willing to return to Nigeria.
The lawyer 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.
Onya urged Justice Aikawa to hear and determine the application before proceeding with the case on Tuesday. 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.
Responding, Justice Aikawa said the court could not entertain the application until all the parties had been properly served. Meanwhile, the trial proceeded with the second witness for the EFCC, Usman Zakari continuing his testimony.
Through the witness, Oyedepo tendered two letters written to the EFCC in relation to the case Standard Charted Bank Nigeria Limited and Guaranty Trust Bank.
The court admitted the two letters as exhibits in evidence against the defendants.
However, Oyedepo’s attempt to tender a trail of electronic mail communication between Diezani and the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank was resisted by the defence counsel, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN).
They contended that the document was not admissible as, according to them, it did not meet the requirement of the Evidence Act.
Oyedepo sought an adjournment to counter the objection by the defence. Justice Aikawa adjourned till Wednesday, October 4 for continuation of trial.
In the charges, Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja; and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, were accused of conspiring between themselves to commit the offence on March 27, 2015.
The duo were accused of making a cash transaction of N450m on March 27, 2015, without going through any financial institution.
But they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, according to reports in Nigeria Newspapers.
Source: Punch Newspapers
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