Looters’ list: Ex-minister files contempt charge against Lai

A former Finance Minister, Mrs Nenadi Usman, has initiated contempt proceedings at the Federal High Court in Lagos against Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
In a motion on notice filed through her lawyer, Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), the former minister of state argued that the inclusion of her name on the looters’ list while her case was pending in court was contemptuous.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa yesterday granted Usman leave to serve Mohammed a notice to appear before the court and explain why he should not be committed to prison for publishing her name in looters’ list while the matter is ongoing in court.
Usman, in the motion on notice, said Mohammed was aware of the charge against her, yet he caused to be published a list of looters in several media platforms on April 1 where her name featured prominently as having looted N1.5 billion.
“Other than the instant ongoing charge for which applicant is standing trial, having pleaded not guilty thereto, she has never been charged,tried or convicted of any criminal offence whether for looting public fund or any other crime.
“The said publication has prejudiced the applicant in the minds of the public and was intended or likely to interfere or obstruct fairadministration of justice in this charge, where thecomplainant/ respondent is yet to conclude its case,” Usman said.
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by a litigation assistant atSynergy Attorneys, Sesan Adebayo, the deponent said Mohammed committed the alleged contempt in response to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demand that the Federal Government should name looters.
Ruling, Justice Aikawa emphasised that the processes should be served on Mohammed through a responsible senior public official at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, where the allegedcontemnor sits as the Minister for Information and Culture.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) rearraigned Usman and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode for alleged N4.6billion fraud.
They pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge of laundering.
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.
Justice Aikawa adjourned till October 2.

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