Drama As EFCC Disowns Lawyer Prosecuting Stella Oduah In Fresh Suit

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, disowned a lawyer, Ibrahim Mohammed, who filed a fresh charge bordering on perjury and document falsification against the former Aviation Minister, Sen. Stella Oduah in the name of the commission.

EFCC’s lawyer, H. A Okonofua, told a Federal High Court, Abuja, that the commission did not send Mohammed to prosecute Oduah, the sole defendant in the matter.

Upon resumed hearing, though Mohammed and Oduah were not in court, Okonofua told the trial Judge, Justice James Omotosho that an investigation carried out by the anti-corruption agency revealed that, “the counsel, Ibrahim Mohammed, was de-seconded back to Nigeria Police on 14 November, 2022, and he was not sent to represent the EFCC to prosecute the defendant,” in the charge he filed in June.

Justice Omotosho drew Okonofua’s attention to the fact that the report was not before the court and the lawyer admitted that the report was filed late. The judge consequently adjourned the matter till October 4 for the investigation report to be placed before the court.

Meanwhile, the former Minister has said that she was not aware of any fresh criminal charges brought against her.

Mrs Oduah who recently represented Anambra North in the Senate insisted that apart from not being served with the purported charge, she was never subjected to any kind of investigation by the Nigeria Police Force or any other security agency in the country.

Addressing a press conference on her behalf recently, her lawyer, Chief James Ogwu Onoja (SAN) maintained that Sen. Oduah was not invited to make any statement by any agency of government before the spurious charges were made by one Ochogwu Ogbe and Ibrahim Mohammed, who claimed to be lawyers with the Police.

The senior lawyer, while faulting the charges said, the charge have no proof of evidence bearing Mrs Oduah’s statement as required by law while no single witness from NYSC was listed.

Besides, Onoja claimed that the two Police lawyers responsible for the filing of the charges did so without affixing their lawyer-practising seals while the address where the purported charge emanated indicated EFCC’s office at number 1, Court Road, Benin City, Edo State.

According to the senior lawyer, “The spurious allegations against our client of not participating in NYSC has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in her favour”.

He added that the fresh charge against his client is a violation of the Code of Conduct for prosecutors as issued by the Federal Ministry of Justice and punishable under Article 7, part B of the Code.

The senior lawyer vowed to file 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.

Similarly, Onoja further 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, adding that, upon identifying the lawyers involved, they would be dragged before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee in addition to facing court action for malicious prosecution of Mrs Oduah.

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