Court Orders EFCC, DSS, Police 72 Hours to Produce Diezani
Justice Valentine Ashi of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja, on December 4, 2018, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of States Security Service and all other security agencies to apprehend and arrest a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke within 72 hours.
The order was made, following a motion ex parte made before the court by counsel to the EFCC, Msuur Denga, praying for an order of the court, to issue a warrant of arrest against Madueke, to enable the Commission apprehend and arraign her for alleged financial crimes in Nigeria.
The EFCC investigated the former minister along with Jide Omokore, a former Chairman, Atlantic Energy Drilling Company, following a petition dated October 2, 2013, from Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, bordering on money laundering and official corruption.
Investigations into the petition revealed that Madueke as supervising minister of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, was found to have engaged in illicit and monumental fraudulent dealings in oil transactions, which she entered into on behalf of the Federal Government.
Madueke and Omokore, are also alleged to have accepted and given gifts in properties located at Penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, Banana Island, Lagos. They are to be arraigned on February 25, 2019 on a five-count charge for the offences, which are contrary to Sections 26(1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Recall that when the matter came up on December 3, 2018 the Commission however filed application for warrant of arrest, condition precedent for Deziani’s extradition protocol to bring her back home to face trail.
The prosecution told the court that Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, jetted out of the country while investigations into the alleged fraudulent acts were ongoing.
The court today, granted the ex parte motion, and ordered the security agencies to provide Madueke within 72 hours, for her to face the charge preferred against her.
“The Inspector General of Police, the Chairman of the EFCC, the Attorney General, the Department of State Services, are hereby ordered in the name of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria to apprehend and arrest the first defendant and produce her before this court for further directives within 72 hours”, the judge held.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
Magu Decries Voter Inducement During Elections
The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has condemned inducement of voters by politicians during elections, saying it is another form of corruption.
Magu said the monetization of electoral process must be frowned on by Nigerians because it could impact negatively on the future of the country.
Speaking during an interactive session with media executives at the EFCC’s Lagos Zonal office on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Magu stated that “We are again at the cusp of history. In only a few weeks from now, we would be going to the polls to elect leaders at all levels of government.
“Howsoever that process goes depends a lot on all of us. Let us vote in leaders based on their programmes and priorities not on how much they are able to pervert the system.”
The EFCC boss, who described the media as the compass providing clear direction for the Commission in its relentless efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption, also stated that the fight for the soul of Nigeria was one between the patriotic and the corrupt
“The fight is also one between the keepers and the looters of our common patrimony. The latter group has continuously demonstrated its I-don’t-care attitude to the socio-economic wellbeing of our dear country. But as stakeholders, we must be alert to our responsibilities to wrest our commonwealth from the grasp of the looters”, he emphasized.
He, therefore, stated that it was important for stakeholders in the anti-graft war to pause and critically review the high and low points of the strategies in dealing with the monster of corruption, which is the bane of the development of the country.
He also charged the media not to leave the fight against corruption only in the hand of the EFCC, adding that “Whenever you give us knocks in your editorials or reportage, we take it in good faith, believing that we are either not doing enough or we need to change our strategies.
“In the same way, when you give us kudos, we don’t feel we should roll out the drums and celebrate because there is still a lot of ground to cover. As I always say, we don’t have a monopoly of knowledge on how best the war against corruption can be fought. So, we will always run to you for brilliant ideas on how best to combat the evil of corruption. Be assured that we will always heed your candid pieces of advice.
“Indeed, I see the media as the potent megaphone to trumpet the need for the generality of Nigerians to take ownership of the fight against corruption.”
Magu, who also described the Commission as apolitical, stated that the Commission’s concern bordered on those who seek to use the political space for money laundering.
He, however, said that the EFCC would invoke the provisions of the anti-money laundering law to the letter, irrespective of whose ox is gored.
He added: “Some vested interests are already attacking us for our stand on the side of the law. Let us remind them that the law is no respecter of persons.
“But we also know that we will be fooling one another if we think that the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes will be a tea affair. It has never been, and it will never be! The reason, you will agree with me, is simply that corruption will always fight back.
“Besides, in today’s Nigeria, the issue of corruption has become a hydra-headed problem. But it will even be more dangerous if critical stakeholders, including the media, leave it only to the EFCC. That is why we will always ask for your support.”
Magu, who said the introduction of special courts to try persons for corruption cases had been a blessing to anti-graft agencies, disclosed that the Commission had recorded 246 convictions as at November 30, 2018.
“I make bold to say that the Commission is winning the war against corruption. In terms of assets recovery/forfeiture, the Commission has secured quite a number of temporary or permanent forfeiture of properties and various sums of monies unlawfully acquired by persons of questionable character. The most recent of such final forfeiture, through the efforts of the Commission to the federal government last month, was the N1.9 Billion from Heritage Bank.
“In addition, the Commission keeps getting more global recognitions for its daring efforts to sanitise the country. Several respectable international agencies have signed collaborative agreements with the Commission to tackle the menace of corruption,” he said.
Magu also described as untrue the insinuation by critics that the Commission had been engaging in witch hunt, saying, “It is not a tool in the hands of anyone, government or individual, either. If your hands are clean, you can go to bed with your two eyes closed. We will never compromise our integrity!”
He also disclosed that the Commission had opened three new zonal offices in Sokoto ,Benue and Kwara States for a strategic purpose.
“Other zonal offices, reflecting the old 12-states structure are coming soon to bring the Commission closer to the people,” he added.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
4th December, 2018