Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) an ultimatum to extradite a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, back to Nigeria form the United Kingdom.
Diezani had been in the United Kingdom facing corruption investigations since 2015 when she left office as minister.
The EFCC had in November 2018 filed 13 counts of money laundering against the ex-minister accusing her of unlawfully taking into her possession $39.7m and N3.32bn with which she allegedly bought choice properties in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt in Rivers State, while she was in office.
During the court hearing on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Faruk Abdullah pleaded with the judge to adjourn the case sine die (indefinitely), on the grounds that the EFCC was facing challenges in its bid to extradite the defendant from the United Kingdom.
Abdullah told Justice Ojukwu that given the circumstances, it would be better for the case to be adjourned indefinitely so that it would not continue to “clog” the court’s docket.
However, the judge threatened to strike out the money laundering case should the anti-corruption agency fail to produce the defendant in court by March 2020. She said:
“My docket is not going to be a waiting room for the prosecution. I will give you one more adjournment. If nothing happens on the next date, I will strike it out.”
In her ruling, the judge adjourned the matter till March 10 “for report or striking out.”
Meanwhile, KanyiDaily had reported that Mrs. Diezani forfeited her $40-Million worth of jewellery and iPhone to the Federal Government.
The EFCC told the judge that the jewellery and iPhone were beyond Diezani’s legitimate earnings, hence, suspected to be acquired with fraud proceeds.