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Court throws out Diezani’s application for trial in Nigeria

Court throws out Diezani’s application for trial in Nigeria

By Leke Adeosun

The intention of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke to be joined in a money laundering suit and be extradited from the UK to face trial has been thrown out by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Justice Mohammed Aikawa disagreed with the submission of Diezani’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN that his client is a necessary  party in the case.

According to the judge, the inclusion of the applicant’s name in counts one to four of the charge does not make her a named defendant.
“The mere mention of the applicant’s name does not qualify her as a defendant. Counts one to four remains mere statement and has not graduated to the status of a charge in line with the extant law”, the judge held.
The court also faulted Diezani’s complaints about lack of fair hearing.
It was the view of Justice Aikawa that it is only the two defendants currently facing trial that can complain of lack of fair hearing and not the applicant.
The judge further held that the application is belated as trial has commenced in the case.
“This cannot be the right time to make such application as witnesses has been called and to roll back the case will be contrary to the spirit of fair hearing. This application is misconceived and a misused of court’s process. It is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed”, he stated
The former minister was seeking to be joined as a defendant in the N500 million fraud charge slammed on a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dele Belgore and a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In particular, she wants the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to bring her back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, where she has been since 2015 to put up her defence in the case.
Delivering ruling on the application, Justice Aikawa disagreed with the submissions of Diezani’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) that his client is a necessary party to be joined in the charge.

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