EFCC — UK frustrating Diezani’s graft trial

Abuja— Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, raised the alarm that the British government was the frustrating trial of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, for alleged graft.

Head of the British Council’s Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme, Mr. Uche Emmanuel, had alleged that Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight had been frustrated by EFCC and other agencies of the present administration.

But the EFCC in a strongly-worded statement described the claim by the British agency as illogical and untenable, given the fact that the British government had been working closely with the anti-graft agency and had, on several occasions, given it accolades for excellent work done.

The statement, signed by the acting spokesman of the commission, Tony Orilade, regretted that the said Uche Emmanuel had chosen to ignore the strident efforts being put to work by the agency in order to bring to book corrupt persons, no matter how highly placed.

The commission lamented that the claim was made by the representative of a British lead agency at a time the British government was actively shielding the former Nigerian oil minister, who is being wanted in Nigeria to stand trial for alleged graft.

The agency openly accused Britain of frustrating its effort to repatriate and try Diezani, having been unduly accommodated and protected by London under the guise of investigating her in the last four years without any idea as to when the probe would end.

The commission said: “We are intent on bringing Diezani to justice and despite the spirited efforts of the commission in ensuring that she returns to Nigeria and face trial, she has been held back in the UK by an investigation that has spanned almost four years without any signal about when she will be available in Nigeria for prosecution.”

“The EFCC has been frustrated over Diezani, a development that prompted it to seek her extradition to Nigeria so that she can have her day in court, yet we have a lot more successes to show.

“Today, the average Nigerian can easily reel out names of ranking former officials of government and their counterparts from the private sector who have been successfully investigated and prosecuted by the commission, with staggering amounts of money and fixed assets also recovered from them.

“It is important to state that the EFCC secured 314 convictions in 2018, including that of two former state governors who were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment without an option of fine, while the commission has recorded about 120 convictions this year already.

“Just a few days ago, the former Chief of Defence Staff, the late Alex Badeh, forfeited six choice properties and $1 million to the Federal Government, on the order of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja.

“It will also be recalled that the EFCC on Friday, March 1, 2019, secured a final forfeiture of the sum N732.85 million being proceeds of fraud perpetrated by 17 individuals in the Presidential Amnesty Programme Office.”

                                                                                                  By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

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