Justice Mohammed Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed November 1 to rule on the application by former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke seeking to be joined in a N500 million suit against Dele Belgore SAN and a former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Suleiman.
Alison-Madueke had earlier filed an application praying the court to join her as a defendant in the suit and order the Attorney General of the Federation to extradite her from the United Kingdom back to Nigeria to face the charges. Madueke’s argument is that she is severally mentioned in the suit as being an accomplice to the charges, yet she was not charged.
At the resumed hearing of the suit on Monday, counsel to Madueke, Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, moved the application earlier filed by the former minister, urging the court to grant his application for “joinder of the applicant” in the sole interest of justice. According to him, the alternative is for her name to be expunged from the charge, otherwise “she will be happy to come and face the trial.”
In opposing the application, counsel to Belgore (the first defendant), E. O. Shofunde SAN argued that Madueke is not a necessary party to the suit and her guilt is not one of the issues to be determined by the Court. He added that it is the prerogative of the prosecution to join a defendant in a criminal trial and not any other person.
In his own submission, the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo stated that Madueke’s desire to be joined in the suit is to enable her escape from the United Kingdom where she is facing prosecution.
According to him, it is too late for Madueke to seek to be joined in the charge and “If an amendment is allowed at this stage, it will occasion a miscarriage of justice.”