-EFCC alleges Diezani of fleeing to the UK to avoid facing the law in Nigeria
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has requested that the Federal High Court in Lagos does not order the return of ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom to Nigeria.
The antigraft said Diezani’s appeal to be rapartriated to Nigeria is a plot to escape justice in the UK, where, according to the EFCC, she is being probed for various financial crimes by the Metropolitan Police.
EFCC added that the investigation by the Metropolitan Police in Diezani’s case had gotten to an advanced level and her prosecution in the UK was forthcoming.
The commission revealed the development in a counter-affidavit, filed in opposition to Diezani’s application before Justice Rilwan Aikawa.
Diezani is seeking an order mandating the Attorney General of the Federation to facilitate her return to Nigeria.
In the application, filed through her lawyer, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, Diezani said she hoped to appear before the Federal High Court in Lagos to face a criminal charge bordering on alleged laundering of N450m, where her name was mentioned.
The main defendants in the charge include Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.
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However, the EFCC, in a counter-affidavit deposed to by one of its operatives, Usman Zakari, revealed how at the beginning of the investigation into the case involving Belgore and Suleiman sometime in 2015, Diezani refused its invitations to explain her role and rather absconded the UK.
Zakari said, “That the applicant, seeing that the investigation by the Metropolitan Police had reached advanced stage and that trial in the instant charge before this honourable court is proceeding smoothly, had designed the instant application to distract and scuttle both her investigation and imminent prosecution in the United Kingdom the trial before this honourable court.
“That the applicant, who knows full well that she is on bail in the United Kingdom where she is being investigated for several financial crimes, and that she would not be able to leave that country in view of the ongoing investigation and imminent trial, is seeking the order of this honourable court for the charge before this honourable court to be amended to include her name on the face of the charge in order for her to escape from investigation and prosecution in the United Kingdom under the guise that she is coming to face her trial before this honourable court and also to scuttle the trial before this honourable court.”
After hearing all sides, Justice Aikawa adjourned till Wednesday for ruling.