The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has lamented that about $320 million of Nigeria’s fund looted by corrupt persons has been trapped abroad even as he assured that the commission will comply with a court decision, which ordered the agency to produce former Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke, within 72 hours before the court to face corruption allegations.
The EFCC boss reiterated that the commission would carry out the order of the court even at a lesser time duration as directed by the court. He however noted that the situation is beyond the security agencies because Diezani is not within the shores of Nigeria, which is outside the jurisdiction if Nigeria’s security agencies.
Magu was responding to the order of the court during a press conference with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, adding that the commission has already commenced moves to extradite Diezani to the country to face trial on alleged corrupt activities when she was minister of the Federal Republic.
On Tuesday Justice Valentine Ashi of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja, on ordered the EFCC, the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of State Services (DSS) and all other security agencies to apprehend and arrest a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke within 72 hours.
The order was made following a motion ex parte made before the court by counsel to the EFCC, Msuur Denga, praying for an order of the court, to issue a warrant of arrest against Diezani, to enable the Commission apprehend and arraign her for alleged financial crimes in Nigeria.
Magu pointed out that the court order was as a result of efforts of the commission to ensure that the former minister, who is been held in the United Kingdom for about three years without trial is brought back to the country.
“We are going to comply with the court order. It is in our character to comply with court order. If we don’t comply with court order then we have reason to appeal”, he said, “I need less than 72 hours to produce Diezani, but how can I get her, she is been protected by other security agencies outside the country. This is our predicament. If she is here I would just get her within a minute. Our problem is that she is in another man’s country”.
Magu urged collaboration from all including media practitioners, stressing that Nigerians must all own the fight in the interest of the country.
“I appeal to all the law enforcement agencies they should take ownership of this fight it is not for us alone. It is a national call and we have to do it in the interest of the nation”.
He also admonished the media to do their work professionally by asking relevant questions, disclosing that most of the country’s loot recovered was still being trapped abroad.
“There is need to put pressure on the other side, more than 80% of the loot recovered outside the country are still hanging, as journalists you should find out why it is still hanging”, he said, “We have over $320m in oversea hanging in Jersey Island in the UK.
Madueke and Omokore, are also alleged to have accepted and given gifts in properties located at Penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, Banana Island, Lagos. They are to be arraigned on February 25, 2019 on a five-count charge for the offences, which are contrary to Sections 26(1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Owing to her long stay in the UK without trial, the EFCC filed an application for warrant of arrest, condition precedent for Deziani’s extradition protocol to bring her back home to face trail at the last adjournment.
The prosecution had inform the court that Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, jetted out of the country while investigations into the alleged fraudulent acts were ongoing.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja