EFCC denies dropping charges against Diezani - Saga Gist - Top Source for Nigeria News


Wednesday, November 27

EFCC denies dropping charges against Diezani

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) rebuffed claims that the 14-count charge against former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke, bank executives and NNPC officials was dropped.

The accused persons were involved in a $153 million conspiration deal to conceal the said amount in Fidelity Bank.

It was reported that at a resumed hearing of the matter before Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court Lagos on November 5, 2019, the anti-graft agency through its lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo dropped the corruption charges against most of the accused persons including Diezani through an amended four-count charge.

However, in a series of tweets on its verified social media handle, the anti-graft agency explained that it never dropped charges against the former Minister but split them to allow for a fresh arraignment of Alison-Madueke.

The tweets read: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to reports currently circulating in the social media purporting that the Commission had dropped the criminal charges against a former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and other persons indicted for money laundering.

‘The Commission enjoins members of the public to disregard the report which is false and misleading. At no time did the commission withdraw the charge, which is still before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

‘The only development was that the Commission took a prosecutorial decision to split the initial 14-count charge to enable separate arraignment of defendants following a spate of adjournments that prevented arraignment of the defendants more than one year after the case was listed.

‘The charges were first filed on November 28, 2018. Since then, every attempt to arraign the defendants had been frustrated by one excuse or the other.

‘In more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either Lanre Adesanya was sick, bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or Stanley Lawson had had a domestic accident and could not appear in court.

‘It was clear that these recurring excuses were ploys to frustrate the arraignment. To get around this, the Commission took a deliberate decision, which was disclosed in open court, to separately prosecute the defendants in different courts.

‘This explains why the four-count amended charge brought against Dauda Lawal, a former executive director of First Bank, did not include other defendants, except the two who are at large( Diezani Alison-Madueke and Ben Otti).”

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