The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss an application by a former Finance Minister (State) Mrs. Nenadi Usman seeking to summon Minister of Information Lai Mohammed for publishing her name as an alleged looter, according to ThisDay.
But, EFCC lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo said the application was “parasitic” and a ploy to delay the former minister’s trial.
In a motion on notice filed through her lawyer Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), Mrs. Usman argued that the inclusion of her name on the looters’ list while her case was pending in court was contemptuous.
Orbih 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.
But, Oyedepo argued that the newspaper publications cited by Orbih did not expressly declare Usman as a looter.
“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.
Orbih had argued that contempt proceedings were criminal in nature and must be dispensed with as a matter of priority before the substantive trial can continue.
He said: “The minister of information is not a party to the criminal proceedings against the applicant.
“The motion is lacking in substance; it is an abuse of court’s process and should be dismissed.”
The former ministers were charged along with former Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) and ex-Chairman of Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State Mr. Yusuf Danjuma and a company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.
The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300 million, N400 million and N800 million, all proceeds of corruption, according to EFCC. The prosecution said they allegedly committed the offence between January 8 and March 25, 2015, ahead of the general election.