Lai Mohammed Faces Contempt over Publication of Looters’ List

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• Fani-Kayode sues minister
Davidson Iriekpen
A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday granted former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, leave to serve the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, a notice to appear before the court and explain why he should not be committed to prison for publishing the name of the applicant on looters’ list while the matter is ongoing in court.

Also, former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, has instituted a contempt proceedings suit against Mohammed for listing his name in recently released looters’ list.
The federal government, through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Usman, Fani-Kayode and two others before the court and they pleaded not guilty.
While the matter is still ongoing, the applicant’s name was included in looters’ list published by the alleged contemnor.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa granted the application, following an ex-perte motion moved by Usman’s counsel, Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), alleging contempt of court against Mohammed.
According to the motion, the alleged, contemnor aware of the pendency of the suit, caused to be released and published a list of looters in several media platforms on April 1, 2018, where the name of the applicant featured prominently as having looted N1.5billion.

“Other than the instant ongoing charge for which applicant is standing trial; having pleaded not guilty thereto, she has never been charged, tried or convicted of any criminal offence whether for looting public fund or any other crime.
“The said publication has prejudiced the applicant in the minds of the public and was intended or likely to interfere or obstruct fair administration of justice in this charge, where the complainant/respondent is yet to conclude its case,” Usman stated.

Supported with a 14 paragraph affidavit deposed to by a litigation assistant at Synergy Attorneys, Sesan Adebayo, he swore that the alleged contemnor in a purported response to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), named persons he called looters of the treasury at a press conference in Lagos and included the applicant, being aware of the pendency of the suit before the court.

“I believe that if the alleged contemnor is not made to show cause as to why he should not be charged for contempt and purge himself of the willful contempt of the authority of this court by committing him to prison, he will continue in his contemptuous activities thereby making mockery of the judicial process,” Adebayo averred.

The court also ordered that the motion on notice dated May 2, 2018 and other accompanying processes be served on the alleged contemnor by substituted means.
The matter has been adjourned to October 2, 2018.
Meanwhile, Fani-Kayode, has instituted a contempt proceedings suit against Mohammed for listing his name in recently released looters’ list.

Fani-Kayode, through his lawyer, Mr. Ferdinand Orbih, yesterday, told a Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Rilwan Aikawa, that his application against Mohammed was brought pursuant to the provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act, as well as the Court’s Civil Procedure Rules.
He said his application was seeking leave of the court, to serve the motion on notice, on the information minister for alleged acts of contempt.