The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, blocked an attempt by Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister to return to Nigeria from London to face trial.
According to reports, the former minister appears to be eager to return to Nigeria, where she is also being investigated for massive corruption.
Alison-Madueke left Nigeria and fled to London after she left office in May 2015. She became an object of interest to the UK National Crime Agency as she was investigated for corruption and money laundering.
To carry out her plans of returning home, she reportedly filed an application before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja on September 18.
In the suit, which was filed by her counsel,Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), she asked to be joined as defendant in the trial of businessman Jide Omokore “in order to give her the opportunity to defend herself” as she was mentioned in the case.
Omokore who is the chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept, is facing a nine-count charge.
Madueke also requested the court to direct the attorney general of the federation to facilitate her appearance in court in Nigeria on the next adjourned date in October 2017.
Technically, the success of her application would have meant Nigeria requesting Britain to allow her travel out of the UK to attend the court hearing.
This however did not sit well with the EFCC who interpreted the application as a way of escaping prosecution in UK.
The counsel for the EFCC, M.S. Abubakar, while opposing the application said: “The applicant realized she was being investigated, and she absconded abroad and sometimes in March this year operatives were in London, but her lawyers refused to allow the operatives interview her.
“My lord, this present application is a plot by the applicant to enable her escape prosecution in London, also to enable her come to Nigeria and scuttle the ongoing case which has already gotten to an advanced stage.”
However, Justice Dimgba, who heard arguments of the two parties declined to grant the application. Instead, Dimgba struck out the eighth count in which the former minister’s name appeared.