Alleged Fraud: Alison-Madueke Absent in Court, Case Adjourned Until May 22
The absence of Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum on Monday in the FCT High Court, Apo stalled her arraignment on a five-count charge bordering on fraud.
The ex-minister, who is now based in the UK is charged alongside former Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Company, Olajide Omokore.
Justice Valentine Ashi has fixed Monday for the arraignment of the two defendants, having issued bench warrant for the arrest of the Alison-Madueke earlier.
Mr Faruk Abdullahi, Counsel to the EFCC told the court that the arraignment would not hold as Alison-Madueke and her co-accused were not in court.
Abdullahi explained that the EFCC had forwarded a request to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) for onward commencement of Alison-Madueke’s repatriation process from the United Kingdom.
He said the absence of the second defendant, (Omokore) was linked to the commission’s inability to serve him with the court’s processes.
The prosecutor, therefore, prayed the court for further adjournment to enable the team tidy up its house.
Mr Adeniyi Adegbonmire (SAN), Counsel to Omokore said his client was prepared to stand trial but that the right process to commence the trial must be adhered to.
“My Lord, the prosecution appears not to be diligent with this case. In fact I was the one who informed him this morning that my client was not served’’, he said.
Justice Ashi, held that the prosecution has no excuse not to have served the second defendant who was in the country.
According to the judge, EFCC must show diligence in pursuing the case or be prepared to discontinue it.
The judge therefore, adjourned the case until May 22 for further hearing.
Alison-Madueke and Omokore, are billed to be arraigned on five-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal acts of accepting and giving bribe.
EFCC averred that the accused persons had conspired at different levels to commit the fraud.
The anti-graft body further alleged that the ex-minister accepted gift of properties described as penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos.
The EFCC said the alleged offence, contravened the provisions of Sections 26(1) and 17 of the EFCC Act, 2000.
NAN reports that on Dec. 5, 2018, Justice Ashi ordered the police, EFCC, Department of State Services (DSS), and others to produce Diezani in court within 72 hours.
Ashi gave the order, following an ex parte motion made before the court by the counsel to the anti-graft agency. (NAN)