The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday said it had concluded arrangements to declare Kogi State ex-governor, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, wanted over alleged N4bn fraud.
A statement by the spokesperson for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the decision followed alleged evasion of arrest of the embattled former governor.
EFCC said he “fled when operatives of the commission stormed his 32 Suleiman Barau Street, Aso Villa, Asokoro-Abuja residence in the early hours of today.”
According to him, Audu was alleged to have fraudulently enriched himself to the tune of over N4bn while he was governor of Kogi State between 1999 and 2003.
He added, “The latest effort to arrest the ex- governor followed a Supreme Court ruling of November 23, 2012, which dismissed his appeal to continue to protract his corruption trial by the EFCC. The Supreme Court ruling therefore clears the way for his fresh arraignment.”
Uwujaren added, “Audu was arrested in Jos in 2006, after a six months manhunt by operatives of the Commission, before his earlier arraignment at the Kogi State High Court on December 1, 2006, on an 80 counts of conspiracy, fraud, criminal breach of trust and embezzlement of public fund.
“The EFCC had, while the case lasted at the High Court, cause issuance of nolle prosequi by the former Attorney- General of Kogi State, Dr. John Agbonika and the then Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), on February 8, 2007 for the case to be discontinued at the Kogi State High Court, as the commission claimed to have lost faith in the handling of the matter by the State High Court.
“But rather than discontinue the matter in the spirit of the nolle prosequi, the trial Judge, Justice Medupin, went ahead and referred two questions to the Court of Appeal for determination.”
In the judgement delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal was wrong to consider the questions referred to it for determination after being aware from the records of Appeal that a nolle prosequi had been filed.
Uwujaren said, “Part of the setback suffered by the Commission in the prosecution of the case was the filing of several applications by the defendant for stay of proceedings at the high court pending the final determination of the appeal.”
“Audu had on December 12, 2011, through his lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, filed the stay of proceedings motion supported by 11-paragraph Affidavit. This was 26 clear days after the Supreme Court of Nigeria on November 16, 2011, struck out a similar application he filed on January 24, 2011.”