From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja Federal High Court, yesterday, fixed May 17 for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to give a progress report in the trial of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date following the absence of the prosecution counsel Farouk Abdullah and the ex- Minister in court.
The case, which was earlier fixed for report or arraignment of the ex-minister, could not proceed as neither Abdullah nor Diezani was in court.
However, when the matter was called, no lawyer appeared for the prosecution.
Justice Ojukwu, who fixed May 17 for report on EFCC’s compliance with court order, directed the court registrar to issue the prosecution (EFCC) counsel with the next hearing notice. The court had, on December 3, 2020, adjourned the matter until March 3 following the inability of the anti-graft agency to fully comply with its orders in the trial of Diezani.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date after counsel to the EFCC, Abdullah, prayed the court for more time to enable the anti-graft agency ensure full compliance with the court orders.
“The court made some orders in the last date that this matter came up. The prosecutions has taken steps to ensure that the orders are complied with; that has not come to fruition yet but steps have been taken.In view of this, may I humbly apply that this matter be adjourned to enable the prosecution comply fully with the order of the court,” Abdullah had said.
The judge had, on October 28, 2020, refused to grant the EFCC’s application seeking the court order on issuance of warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke.
Ojukwu held that an affidavit with evidence in support to proof that the earlier court summon granted the agency had failed in the extradition of Diezani must be filed by the commission before another request could be made.