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Malami orders EFCC to hand over Stella Oduah’s case file

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The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to forward the case file of former aviation minister Stella Oduah to the federal ministry of justice for review.

Oduah and eight others are facing a 25-count money laundering charge. The EFCC alleges that they conspired to launder about N5 billion.

Malami’s directive followed a petition alleging that EFCC was being used to persecute Oduah.

At the scheduled arraignment of the defendants before the Federal High Court in Abuja today, lead defence counsel Ogwu Onoja notified the court that the AGF had on the strength of the petition dated February 4, called for the case file.

He argued that it would be improper for the court to proceed with the arraignment when the EFCC is yet to respond to the AGF’s request.

“My lord, we are of the strongest view that plea cannot be taken on this matter.

“There was a petition written to the Attorney General of the Federation which is a complaint made against this prosecution. That was because we found out that this trial was a persecution, and we got a response from the AGF.

“The AGF requested for the file, but up till now, the EFCC has refused to send the case file to the AGF.

“This case is a matter of persecution and not prosecution. Based on that, we have an objection that this plea cannot be taken.

“I have a certified true copy of the letter the AGF wrote to the EFCC,” Onoja said.

EFCC’s lawyer Ufem Uket argued that a petition was not sufficient enough to abort the planned arraignment of the defendants.

Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the intervention of the AGF in the matter created a constitutional issue that would not be summarily dismissed by the court.

He, therefore, ordered all the parties to file processes to address the court on whether it should proceed to take the plea of the defendants in view of the new development.

The case was adjourned till February 10, 2022.

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