Corruption trial: No need to extradite Diezani now ―FG

FORMER Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, is not likely to have her wish for her return to Nigeria to be facilitated in order to face corruption trial as the federal government has said that would not be necessary for now.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami disclosed this while speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday.

He also said it was not in the former minister’s power to determine when she would be brought to face trial in the country if necessary.

Malami, who spoke in Hausa to Hausa media correspondents, noted that she was already being investigated by authorities in the United Kingdom which he said has an understanding with Nigeria.

Asked whether Allison-Madueke would be extradited as she has requested, Malami said:

“The truth of the matter is that the government is doing something especially on issues of corruption and litigation in Nigeria and outside the country.

“Considering the fact that there is an existing understanding between Nigeria and other countries especially the United Kingdom on the recovery of stolen funds, so you cannot say the government is not doing anything.”

He added: “The truth of the matter is that steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.

“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring  Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, the government will not hesitate to do that.

“As things are now, there is no need for that since the U.K. Government is already investigating her on…and the government will not take any decision that will jeopardize what the U.K. Government is doing.”

On whether she would likely get a fair trial if she were to be extradited to Nigeria, Malami responded: “Well, the issue is not about fair hearing now. We are talking about investigation first and is not within Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke power to ask the federal government to bring her to testify in any case in Nigeria.

“Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke is facing charges of money laundering and acquisition of properties in the United Kingdom. So, it is important to face the charges there than for her to come as a mere witness in a case in Nigeria.”

The former minister had approached the Federal High Court in Lagos urging it to order the Federal Government to facilitate her return to Nigeria to face trial.

She is asking for a chance to defend allegations against her in a charge filed against Dele Belgore (SAN) and former National Planning Minister Abubakar Suleiman.

According to the prosecution Alison-Madueke allegedly shared $115,010,000 (about N35 billion) to individuals in the 36 states ahead of the 2015 general elections.

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