Magu Tightens Noose around Money Launderers, Meets UAE Envoy
***AGF’s Request for Brief Stalls Trial of Borishade, Others in N5.2billion Scam.
Barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari signed a Mutual Legal Assistance agreement with the United Arab Emirate on the repatriation of stolen funds and extradition of indicted officials, the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, today met with the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Mahmud Muhammad Al- Mahmud in his office in Maitama, Abuja.
The EFCC boss called for the strengthening of the existing relationship between Nigeria and United Arab Emirate, UAE, with a view to effectively tackle corruption within the African continent.
“The fight against graft requires the collaborative support of all and sundry, most especially the international community for it to be won”, Magu said.
According to the EFCC boss, the present administration in the country is poised to recover the nation’s commonwealth looted and laundered in foreign countries by corrupt elements. He said the Commission has intelligence that the UAE is considered a safe haven by corrupt politically exposed persons in Nigeria.
“I have come to seek your support and cooperation just as we had in the case of Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, James Ibori, among others to get the mission accomplished”, Magu pleaded.
In his remark, the UAE Ambassador, Al- Mahmud, pledged the support of his country to Nigeria’s anti graft war saying, “No country can be an island on its own without the support of others.”
Meanwhile, hearing on a suit filed by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against the former Minister of Aviation, Babalola Borishade and four others before Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, was stalled on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 on the request of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, for brief on the matter.
Though both parties were present in court, Justice Umar informed them that the matter could not go on as planned as the AGF requested for a brief on the case by the EFCC since the matter had been in court for about 7 years.
He presented a letter dated February 2, 2016 from the AGF requesting for an adjournment of the case and records of court proceedings so far.
Counsel to EFCC, Chile Okoroma told the court that, his hands were tied with regards to continuing the proceeding as the AGF being the Chief Law Officer, has power over him.
According to Okoroma, “under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and Section 174 of the Constitution, the AGF has the power to take over, continue or discontinue a case.”
Counsel to the first defendant, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Regina Okotie- Eboh representing the 4th and 5th defendants who had initially sought for a dismissal of the case which was earlier slated for ruling today, could not have their applications taken as a result of the letter from the AGF.
Justice Umar adjourned the case to February 17, 2016 for ruling and continuation of hearing pending the decision of the AGF.
Borishade, his former personal assistant, Tunde Dairo, and two others allegedly mismanaged a N5.2 billion Aviation Safe Tower contract.
Others on trial for the alleged offence are former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Rowland Iyayi; an Australian, George Eider and Avsatel Communications Ltd.
The suspects were arraigned on November 19, 2009 by the EFCC on a 15-count charge of taking bribe and forging aviation contract documents.
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