We need Diezani back to face justice- Magu

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By Kenneth Atavti

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, says the EFCC is seeking the extradition of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke because the United Kingdom authorities have failed to take legal action against her despite being there since 2015.

Magu said this while briefing journalists on the activities of the EFCC in Abuja yesterday.

The acting EFCC boss said the commission was equipped to successfully prosecute the former minister who has been accused of mismanaging oil funds to the tune of $20bn.

When asked if her extradition to Nigeria would not affect her pending case in the UK, Magu said, “There is no court trial.

She was being investigated even before I assumed office. So, it has taken so long and it is very unreasonable that she is not being tried there.

“So, we are tired of waiting and that was why I said if you cannot prosecute her, bring her and we will prosecute her. There is no prosecution going on in the UK.

“We are involved in the investigation in this country and outside the country including America and London. I have been there. We have worked and sat together. We cannot wait endlessly. I think three years and above is sufficient for you to take her to court. There is no court process against her in the UK. Nobody is prosecuting her there.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had confirmed that the process to bring back former Minister of Petroleum , Mrs. Deziani Alison – Madueke , from the United Kingdom has begun.

Acting spokesman of the Commission , Mr . Tony Orilade , disclosed this to journalists in Abuja .

There have been calls from different quarters for the former minister to return to the country to answer several allegations of financial impropriety against her .

According to Orilade , EFCC’ s Operations Department had made presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process , noting that the process has commenced .

He , however , said that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney – General of the Federation , explaining that it was not something the Commission could commence and conclude on its own .

“ It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks , the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public.
“ It is not a fresh case ; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into ; the whole process is a total package .
“ This request to have Mrs . Alison – Madueke back in Nigeria is just an aspect of Diezani ’ s investigation and commencement of trial , ” he said .

In 2017 , a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7 . 6 bn alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government .

Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government .

Granting the application , the judge had said : “ I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7 .6 billion reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity .

“ I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application .
“ In the circumstances , I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed . Parties have a right of appeal. ”
In October , 2017 , the Minister of Justice and Attorney – General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami , had said that Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Allison-Madueke back home to face trial .

Allison- Madueke , who is being investigated in the UK , had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.

But , Malami said that bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried on her in the UK .

“ Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians .

“ If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs Diezani Allison – Madueke here to face charges of corruption , government will not hesitate to do that .

“ As things stand now , there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her , ’’ he had said .

The EFCC spokesman could not , however, say the point at which it became necessary to seek extradition of the embattled former minister of petroleum under the administration of president Goodluck jonathan.

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