By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, summoned the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before it on October 28, to enter her plea to money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against her.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu made the order after she heard an ex-parte application that was brought by the anti-graft agency.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Faruk Abdallah, told the court that investigation revealed that the former Petroleum Minister was not only deeply involved in money laundering, but equally played key roles in other financial crimes.
He decried that since the ex-Minister fled the country immediately she exited the office, the EFCC found it difficult to get her back to respond to different criminal allegations against her.
In one of the documents it attached to the ex-parte motion, EFCC told the court that Diezani is, among other things, wanted over the alleged role she played in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) to some firms.
As well as to answer questions on her role in the chartering of private jets by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Ministry of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of contracts by NNPC to Marine and Logistics Services Limited.
Besides, the agency said it is currently investigating the nature of business relationships the former Minister had with some persons.
The EFCC said it wanted the ex-Minister to speak on several items, documents and pieces of jewellery that were recovered from her house at No: 10 Chiluba Close off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified properties that are linked to her In Nigeria, UK, United States of America (USA), United Arab Emirate (UAE) and South Africa.
More so, the Commission told the court that it would also require Diezani to explain her role in financing the 2015 general elections, particularly the money that were warehoused at a new generation bank in 2015, prior to the elections.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel urged the court to issue a summon or arrest warrant to compel her appearance in court for trial.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Ojukwu, ordered Diezani to appear before the court on October 28 for arraignment on the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.
The court further directed that a copy of the summons should be conspicuously published on the official website of the EFCC and a national daily.