Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday made a U-turn on her threat to strike out a corruption case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
And the EFCC promised her that they would issue a criminal summons against Alison-Madueke compelling her to stand trial at the court.
The judge had given the EFCC till Tuesday to have Alison-Madueke extradited from the United Kingdom to Nigeria to face trial or the money laundering charges against her would be struck out.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had said she would no longer allow the case filed in November 2018 to continue to clog her docket without any progress made.
The judge said on Tuesday from her records, the EFCC had not taken any steps regarding the case – to either serve the ex-minister or apply for the issuance of a warrant for her arrest, since the case was filed.
She said with no progress recorded in the case, she would find it difficult to justify its recurrence in her periodical returns to the National Judicial Council.
But she backtracked on the threat to strike out the case after lawyer for the anti-corruption body, Faruk Abdullah, assured her that he was going to file an application for the court to issue criminal summons against Alison-Madueke.
Abdullah said he did not find it necessary to apply for an arrest warrant against the ex-minister since a similar order had been issued against her by the late Justice Valentine Ashi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.
He said the arrest warrant and the gratification charges filed before the late judge as well as the money laundering charges pending before Justice Ojukwu were filed as part of the extradition request sent to the UK.
Abdullah informed the judge that Alison-Madueke rebuffed attempts by them to serve documents in connection with the case on her in the UK.
He added, “We have submitted our extradition request to the UK authorities and we have done everything we needed to do.
“This is a case the extradition request is predicated. Once this matter is struck out, the whole extradition process will collapse like a pack of cards.
“We plead with the court to have more patience and continue to keep this matter in the docket.”
He then informed the judge that he would file an application for criminal summons against Alison-Madueke.
Justice Ojukwu adjourned the case till May 11 for mention.
The EFCC on November 11, 2018 filed the 13 counts of money laundering accusing Alison-Madueke of unlawfully taking into her possession $39.7m and N3.32bn when she reasonably ought to have known that the money formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activities.
She was said to have purchased landed property with the money using different fronts.
In September 2013, she allegedly used the name of Rusimpex Limited to acquire a property named Block B3 comprising six penthouses and 18 flats at Zone N Federal Government Layout, also known as Bella Vista Estate, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, with the sum of $37.5m.
On June 4, 2012, she was said to have used the name of Azinga Meados Limited to buy 13 three-bedroom terrace houses with one room maids’ quarters at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Abuja, with the sum of N650m.
In May 2012, she allegedly used the name of Chapel Properties to buy eight four-bedroom terrace houses, two three-bedroom penthouses, six three-bedrooms apartments, two three-bedrooms Mansionette , two two-bedroom apartments, one four-bedroom apartment at No. 4/6 Thorbun Avenue, and No 5 Raymond Street, Yaba, Lagos, with N937m.
She was also said to have in May 2012, purchased in the name of Blue Nile Estate Limited, 16 four-bedroom terrace houses, at Plot 2C, Omerelu Street Diabu GRA, Port Harcourt Rivers State, with N928m.