8 December 2009

Nigeria: EFCC Seeks Warrant of Arrest Against El-Rufai

Abuja — A Federal High Court in Abuja will on February 9, 2010 determine whether to issue a bench warrant against former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasir el-Rufai.

The court presided over by Justice Adamu Bello would also be ruling on whether charges preferred against el- Rufai was in order or otherwise. The commission had in December 2008 declared the former minister wanted.

At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday filed against the former minister, counsel to EFCC, Adebayo Adelodun( SAN), prayed the court to issue bench warrant against el-Rufai for repeatedly failing to appear before the court to defend himself on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy and abuse of office preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Two other accused persons, Altine Jubrin, former Director -General of the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) and Ismailia Iro, former General Manager, AGIS, were in court today when the case came up.

Responding to the EFCC counsel's prayer, defence lawyer, Akin Olujimi (SAN), prayed the court to dismiss the application filed by the anti- graft agency which seeks to compel the former minister to make himself available for trial.

However, counsel to EFCC, in his own submission stated that the application brought forward by the defence counsel should be dismissed since the defence counsel had earlier adopted the 17-paragraph counter affidavit with addresses.

According to him, "the accused person decides to be slippery, jumping from one country to the other, trying to take advantage of some allowance in the law to avoid coming to court to answer the charges against him. He is aware that there are charges leveled against him. If he has no skeleton in his cupboard, let him come over to Nigeria and answer his case".

Having heard both counsel, Presiding Judge, Justice Adamu Bello, fixed February 9, 2010, for ruling on the matter.

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