A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday threatened to strike out a money laundering charge filed against former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Maudeke, by the Federal Government.
Justice Ijeoma Ojkukwu made the threat when, at the mention of the case initiated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), protection lawyer Farouk Abdallah said the Federal Government was having challenges effecting the ex-minister’s extraction.
Abdallah said it was necessary to keep the case alive for the extradition process, since it had already begun, and see it to the end.
When the case was called, Abdallah recalled that it was, on the last date, adjourned for the prosecution to return and report development on the effort to extradite the ex-minister.
He said: “My lord, the defendant is not in court. On June 25, 2019, counsel informed the court that the EFCC and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had commenced process for her extradition.
“We also informed the court that the extradition was yet to be carried out. The situation in the case has not changed.”
Abdallah applied that the case be adjourned sine die (indefinitely) with the hope that the defendant would be extradited one day. The judge said she was uncomfortable with such arrangement, adding: “I will give you one more date. If nothing happens by then, I will strike it out.”
Reacting to the judge’s threat, Abdallah said: “My lord, the problem is that if there is no life matter in the country, the extradition will not be possible.”
The lawyer suggested that the court adjourn till March 10, 2020, for report on further development in the extradition process, a request the judge granted.