Stella Oduah faults fresh charges by EFCC

By Esther Blankson

Former Aviation minister and Senator, Stella Oduah has faulted the fresh charges brought against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Stating that the charges were politically motivated and a gender-based political attack, she said she did not know about the charges which “have no proof of evidence bearing her statement as required by law.”

She spoke through her lawyer, James Onoja, SAN, shortly after Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the investigation of the charge against her.

One Ochogwu Ogbe and Ibrahim Mohammed, who claimed to be personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had on June 26 filed an eight-count charge bordering on forgery concerning Oduah’s National Youth Service Corps certificate.

Meanwhile, Mohammed appeared in court on Tuesday on behalf of the police to prosecute the matter but the judge after confirming from the witness that he has been disengaged from the EFCC since November last year, and now serves in the police force directed the anti-graft agency to investigate the matter and report back within one week.

Addressing the turn of events, the learned silk pointed out that Oduah was not invited to make any statement by any agency of government before the charges were filed.

He said, apart from not being served with the purported charge, the former minister was never subjected to any kind of investigation by the Nigeria Police Force or any other security agency in the country.

The learned silk stated that the two Police lawyers who filed the charges did so without affixing their lawyer practising seals even as the address where the purported charge emanated indicated EFCC’s office at number 1, Court Road, Benin City, Edo State.

He further stated that EFCC does not have the powers to prosecute any offence under the Penal Code, adding that the charge does not allege any offence under the EFCC’s Act but Criminal Code.

He said his team had been to EFCC’s headquarters for an investigation on the faceless charges and that the EFCC denied knowledge of the charge.

Noting that “the spurious allegations against our clients of not participating in NYSC have been dismissed by the Supreme Court in her favour”, he thanked Justice James Omotosho for ordering the immediate arrest of the lawyer that appeared for the prosecution.

He said that the action of the judge is a confirmation that the court was not comfortable with all anomalies contained in the face of the charge.

Onoja vowed to report the matter of filing documents contrary to practice direction on fixing of seals of legal practitioners to the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.

He said upon identifying the lawyers involved, they would be dragged before Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee in addition to facing court action for malicious prosecution of Oduah.

Besides, he vowed to issue a petition to the Inspector General of Police for investigation and to call to order those bringing the image of the police into disrepute while another petition would be forwarded to EFCC to investigate impersonation and abuse of its prosecutorial powers.

“This is a new political dispensation which has promised adherence to the Rule of Law and accountability, we need a breath of fresh air,” the senior lawyer said.

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