According to the court decision, Emmanuel Okoyomon, wanted in the UK on charges of bribery and money laundering, must be extradited to Britain within next 30 days. British authorities accuse former top finance ministry official, who used to head the Nigerian Security, Minting and Printing Company, of bribery.
According to their evidence, Emmanuel Okoyomon has received numerous payments from Australian company Securency International on his personal bank account in the UK in 2006. The money, British law enforcement officials insist, were the bribe for a contract in Nigeria to print low denomination polymer bank notes.
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Nigerian High Court Justice Evoh Chukwu told press that “there was enough material evidence to carry out the extradition order.”
Musliu Hassan of Nigeria’s Justice Ministry added that the ruling to extradite Mr. Okoyomon to the UK within 30 days can be named no less than a “victory for justice.”
However, Okoyomon’s lawyer, Chile Ekeocha told that he and his client consider of possible appeal concerning extradition ruling of Nigerian court.
Emmanuel Okoyomon has been arrested as a result of moves by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the body, which had been previously much criticized for its inability to bring to justice top officials suspected of corruption.
Mr. Okoyomon’s case seems to be not the ordinary one, because his contract with Securency company to print bank notes has caused public outcry and is widely regarded as disastrous. The low-denomination polymer bank notes ranged from five to fifty naira also proved to be very low in quality, quickly deteriorating in circulation. Common people were affected by this unpleasant fact much, though Nigeria’s Central Bank first blamed Nigerian climate and humidity to cause notes deterioration.
But later it turned out that notes were simply of a very low quality, because reports from other countries with hot and humid climate showed that circulation of polymer bank notes lasted much longer. Later Nigeria’s Central Bank declared the return to the usual low denomination paper notes.
The investigation into Securency frauds began in Australia in 2009. It turned out that Nigeria was not the only country where Securency has been granted contracts in exchange of bribes. Several Asian countries were involved in that case too, though the effects on their economies weren’t so disastrous as in case with Nigeria.
Since the start of investigation into Securency affair the Reserve Bank of Australia has got rid of its 50 percent stake in the company.