EFCC Drops $1.6bn Charges Against Diezani, Aluko

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have made some adjustments to the $1.6 billion charge it filed against former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and her associates.

The commission applied for the exclusion of the names of the ex-minister and a businessman, Kolawole Akanni Aluko, who were mentioned in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/121/2016.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke (said to be at large) was named in Count 8 of the charge and accused of “abetting the commission of money laundering,” by those listed in the charge.

Mr Aluko (also said to be at large) was accused of engaging in conspiracy, money laundering and fraud.

The anti-graft agency bowed to the insistence of Justice Binta Nyako that it was not possible to proceed with the arraignment yesterday when the two co-defendants were not in court and had not been served with the charge—thereby making EFCC to drop the former minister and Aluko from the charge.

The prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) although, argued that the arraignment was possible without the presence of the two accused persons, who were merely mentioned in the charge, but not as defendants, the judge however, insisted that both names must either be excluded or they be served with the charge and produced in court before arraignment could take place.

After Jacobs applied for the exclusion of the ex-minister and Aluko from the charge, the judge directed that the charge be read to the defendants.

Those arraigned were: Jide Omokore, former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), Victor Briggs, former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Abiye Membere, Manager, Planning and Commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo and two companies linked with Omokore—Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.

They were arraigned on a nine-count charge and accused of obtaining under false pretense and engaging in money laundering estimated at about $1,646,140,379.90.

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