EFCC challenges suit seeking to jail Lai Mohammed for publishing looters list

EFCC challenges suit seeking to jail Lai Mohammed for publishing looters list

- Nenadi Usman, a former minister, argues that the inclusion of her name on the looters’ list while her case was pending in court was contemptuous

- The EFCC contends that a suit by Nenadi Usman against the minister of information, Lai Mohammed, is a ploy to delay her trial before the Federal High Court

- NBA accuses the Nigeria police force of compromising Osun rerun election

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted a suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking to summon the minister of information, Lai Mohammed, for publishing the name of Nenadi Usman, a former finance minister (state) as an alleged looter.

Usman, in a motion through her lawyer, Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), argued that the inclusion of her name on the looters’ list while her case was pending in court was contemptuous, the Nation reports.

The former minister said Lai Mohammed aware of the charge against her, went ahead to publish a list of looters in several media platforms on April 1, 2018, where her name appeared as having looted N1.5 billion.

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Her lawyer urged the court to grant his client leave for Mohammed to appear to show cause as to why he should not be committed to prison for contempt on the ground that the publication of Usman’s name as a looter undermined the court’s authority.

However, the anti-crime commission urged the court to dismiss the action by the former minister, noting that the application was a ploy to delay her trial for alleged money laundering.

Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC lawyer, said that Usman ought to have filed a separate civil suit for libel against Mohammed rather than initiating contempt proceedings before the judge she is undergoing trial.

The counsel to the EFCC contended that the newspaper publications did not expressly declare Usman as a looter.

He said the reports used the expression alleged looter which he said was in conformity with the charge against Usman.

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“There is nowhere in Exhibit A (newspaper report), where the defendant is described as a looter of public treasury. What was published is an allegation which is yet to be proven,” he said.

While the counsel to Usman argued that contempt proceedings were criminal in nature and must be dispensed with as a matter of priority before the substantive trial can continue, the lawyer to the EFCC insisted that anyone who claims that his or her reputation was maligned should seek remedy in court.

The minister of information is not a party to the criminal proceedings against the applicant.

“There was nothing that connects the Ministry of Information to the motion, which was taken out to annoy the prosecution.

“The motion is lacking in substance; it is an abuse of court’s process and should be dismissed," the EFCC contended.

Justice Aikawa adjourned till October 16 and 19 for ruling.

In another report, the Nigerian Bar Association has accused the Nigeria police force of compromising the Osun state governorship rerun election which held on September 27.

The legal association in a report by its ad hoc committee on the rerun, said the actions and inaction of the police during the poll showed that it had been compromised.

The report said the rerun fell far short of a free and fair election compared to what transpired in the election of September 22.

The EFCC stage a walk against corruption on Legit.ng TV

Source: Legit.ng

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