The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been ordered to hand over the case file of former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, to the Federal Ministry of Justice for review.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) gave the directive following a petition alleging that the anti-graft agency was being used to persecute the former minister.
Naija News reports that the Senator representing Anambra North in the National Assembly is facing a 25-count money laundering charge the EFCC preferred against her and eight others.
Other Defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/20, are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd and Sobora International Ltd.
EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired and laundered funds to the tune of about N5billion.
At the scheduled arraignment of the defendants before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, a lead defence counsel, Ogwu Onoja SAN, notified the court that Malami had on the strength of the petition dated February 4, called for the case file.
He argued that it would not be proper for the court to proceed with the arraignment when the EFCC is yet to respond to the AGF’s request.
Onoja, went ahead and tendered a copy of the said petition to the court.
Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Ufem Uket, said though he only saw the said letter from the AGF in the courtroom, he argued that a mere petition was not sufficient enough to abort the planned arraignment of the Defendants.
Meanwhile, trial Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the intervention of the AGF in the matter created a constitutional issue that would not be summarily dismissed by the court.
He, therefore, ordered all the parties to file a process to address the court on whether it should proceed to take the plea of the Defendants in view of the new development.
While adjourning the matter till February 10, 2022, for the adoption of written addresses, the court held that the defendants should continue on administrative bail that was earlier granted to them by the EFCC.
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