Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court yesterday in Abuja, ordered former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before it for arraignment in a money-laundering charge filed against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Already, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu has ordered the issuance of summons on her for the purpose of her arraignment on the charge. The judge has ordered that the court’s summons in respect to the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018, should be published on the website of the EFCC and a national daily in a conspicuous manner. She has been specifically ordered to appear before the court on October 28, 2020, when the court adjourned the case for arraignment. The prosecution counsel, Faruk 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.
Abdallah said there was the need for a court’s summons or arrest warrant to compel her appearance in court. In a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, the EFCC 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
The commission said it also wants 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. The EFCC said it is investigating Diezani’s business relationships with some businessmen. It added that Diezani was also required to clear the 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.” The prosecution said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and jewelry recovered from her house at No: 10 Chiluba Close off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified properties that are linked to her in Nigeria, UK, United States of America (USA), United Arab Emirate (UAE) and South Africa.