The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission permission to extradite and arraign former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom to face corruption charges in Nigeria.
The commencement of the extradition moves was confirmed on Monday with the leave granted the EFCC by the court in Abuja, to arraign the former minister and one of her associates, Jide Omokore, before the court on February 25.
Acting spokesman for the anti-graft agency, Tony Orilade, confirmed that the charges were filed to initiate the process of extraditing Alison-Madueke from the UK to Nigeria.
To initiate an extradition process, the country requesting the extradition of a suspect must have a pending charge against them.
“Yes, it is to initiate the process of extraditing her to the country,” he said.
Asked if the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, whose office has the exclusive power to formally ask the UK to send Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria, was involved in the process so far, Orilade said, “The AGF is cooperating very well with the commission.”
In a statement he issued also on Monday, Orilade said the EFCC had filed an application for warrant for arrest against the ex-minister.
He said the request was also “a condition precedent for Deziani’s extradition protocol to bring her back home to face trail.”
He added, “A motion ex parte would be filed tomorrow (December 4, 2018) deposing to the facts given on Diezani by the commission.”
Alison-Madueke’s co-accused in the new case, Omokore, who is a former Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling company, and others are already being prosecuted for various charges, which had been linked to the ex-minister, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The five counts newly filed by the EFCC against the ex-minister and Omokore bordered on conspiracy and illegal act of accepting and giving gratifications.
They allegedly accepted and gave gifts of properties described as penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos as gratifications.
The EFCC said the alleged offence, contravened the provisions of Sections 26(1) and 17 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Requesting the court to grant the leave for the arraignment of the duo during the Monday’s proceedings, EFCC’s lawyer, Faruk Abdullahi, said Alison-Madueke left the country for the UK while investigations into the allegations against her were ongoing.
Abdullahi said she had since refused to honour the EFCC’s invitation to return to the country to be prosecuted.
But a defence counsel, Tayo Adeniyo (SAN), said his client was not served with the charges and his client was ready to clear his name.
Justice Valentine Ashi granted the EFCC’s request and February 25 for the arraignment of the defendants.