The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denied dropping the charges against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The former minister was indicted in a multi-million dollar fraud but the commission had been unable to bring her before any court. 

Spokesperson for the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, said the anti-graft agency had not dropped the charges but "split the initial 14-count charge to enable separate arraignment of the defendants".

The commission filed multiple charges against the former minister and some others in 2018.

He said, "The only development was that the commission took a prosecutorial decision.

"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 and bedridden in a London hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or Stanley Lawson 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 at large (Diezani Alison-Madueke and Ben Otti). 

“And the ingredients of the offence stated therein only pertains to Lawal's involvement in the alleged crime, which is the receipt of $25m from the $153m 2015 Peoples Democratic Party presidential election slush fund.

"The non-inclusion of other defendants in the original charge in the amended four-count charge does not mean that they have been exonerated by the commission of any criminal allegation."

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