By Alex Enumah
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday issued a summon on former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Maudeke, to appear in court and respond to allegations of money laundering against her.
Diezani, who is taking refugee in the United Kingdom, has been on the radar of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly defrauding the nation of billions of dollars. The EFCC has been on her trail since she left office in 2015.
Delivering ruling Friday in an ex-parte application by the EFCC, Justice Ojukwu ordered the issuance of summons on the former petroleum minister for her to attend court for the purpose of her arraignment on the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.
The judge further ordered that the court’s summons be published in a conspicuous manner on the website of the anti-graft agency, including a national newspaper.
She subsequently adjourned till October 28, 2020, for Diezani to attend court for the purpose of her arraignment on the pending money laundering charge.
Arguing the exparte application, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Faruk Abdallah pointed out that since Diezani allegedly fled the country, it was difficult to get her back to respond to the various criminal allegations against her, adding that only a court’s summons or arrest warrant would compel her to appear in court.
The EFCC, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said it sought to question Diezani, without success, in relation to many allegations against her, including “her role as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) by NNPC to; Septa Energy Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited.
The commission said it also wants Diezani to respond to questions about “her role in the chartering of private jets by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Ministry of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of contracts by NNPC to Marine and Logistics Services Limited.
The Commission further claimed it was investigating Diezani’s business relationships with Mr. Donald Amamgbo, lghoh, Mr. Afam Nwokedi, Chief lkpea Leemon, Miss Olatimbo Bukola Ayinde, Mr. Benedict Peters, Christopher Aire, Harcourt Adukeh, Julian Osula, Dauda Lawal, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Mr. Leno Laithan, Sahara Energy Group and Midwestern Oil Limited.
It added that Dezani was also required to explain “her role in financing the 2015 general elections.”
The EFCC said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and jewelleries recovered from her house at No: 10 Chiluba Close off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified properties that are linked to her in Nigeria, UK, United States of America, United Arab Emirates and South Africa.