EFCC Challenges Contempt Charge Against Minister of Information
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a motion filed by a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, seeking to commit the Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to prison for alleged contempt.
Usman is standing trial alongside former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani -Kayode, a former Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Joint trust Dimension Ltd, over money laundering charges.
In a motion on notice brought through her lawyer, Mr Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), the former minister argued that the inclusion of her name on the looters’ list released by the Information Minister during the course of an alleged fraud case against her was contemptuous.
However, responding to the arguments on the motion, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to decline Nenadi’s request .
Oyedepo insisted that the applicant (Nenadi) was never referred to as a looter by the information minister, arguing that what was published by some newspapers only bordered on allegations which could not be said to be prejudicial to the applicant’s case in court.
He further argued that there was no advertorial from the Ministry of Information to substantiate the claims against the information minister.
He said: “The minister of information is not a party to the criminal proceedings against the applicant; there is no evidence to show that the alleged contemnor works with the various media houses that published the alleged offensive publication.
” Besides, there were no allegations against the media houses that published the alleged offensive publication.
“There was nothing that connected 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.”
Justice Mohammed Aikawa reserved his ruling on the motion until Nov. 16.