The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will next week apply to court for arrest warrants against some suspects named in the charges relating to the $1.1bn Malabu oil scam, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
Our correspondent also learnt that the anti-graft agency would soon commence the process of extraditing other suspects, who are abroad and have not shown readiness to submit themselves for trial.
Among the suspects who are abroad, are the immediate-past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), who has informed his successor, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), that he was being persecuted by the EFCC.
The EFCC had alleged that over $1.1bn fraudulently exchanged hands in alleged shady transactions over the highly lucrative Nigerian oil well OPL 245, said to have been originally offered to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd by the then Gen. Sani Abacha junta under controversial circumstances in 1998.
Already the EFCC has filed three sets of charges before the Federal High Court in Abuja and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, against Adoke and others.
Sources confirmed to SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that majority, if not all the defendants, named in the sets of charges were not within the immediate reach of the anti-graft agency.
“That is why we have not been able to arraign the defendants. At a time, we had to write to the courts where the charges were filed to give us some time in order to bring them to court,” a source at the EFCC told our correspondent on Saturday.
When asked what steps the EFCC was going to take, the source said the anti-graft agency would next week commence moves to compel the defendants to attend their trial.
According to the source, options available to the commission include applying to court for arrest warrants against the defendants suspected to be in Nigeria.
The source said for those who were abroad, the EFCC would write the AGF’s office to commence their extradition processes.
The EFCC official, who sought not to be named, said, “All these will start happening on the first day the cases are mentioned in court sometime in the first week of April.
“On that day, we may apply for the arrest of those we suspect are in the country.
“We will subsequently ask court to give us more time to enable us bring those of them that are abroad back home.
“The extradition procedure can only be ignited by the AGF, who has the exclusive powers to apply to court to extradite a suspect from Nigeria to another country, or activate the mutual assistance of a host country of a suspect to extradite the wanted person back to Nigeria.
“So, after the first mention of the case in court, the commission will liaise with the AGF to take the appropriate steps in that regard.”
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