Yusuf Alli and Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
A Supreme Federal Court in Abuja overturned the provisional confiscation order made on October 18, 2019, on some assets that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claimed belonged to former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah.
Judge Inyang Ekwo, at a trial on Monday, found that the EFCC had failed to establish a link between the assets and the former minister.
But the commission, in a statement last night in Abuja by its anti-corruption commission chief of media and advertising, Dele Oyewale, criticized the trial. He expressed his decision to appeal to the Court of Appeal on the matter.
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The EFCC requested the provisional confiscation order, following its investigation into the allegation that Oduah embezzled part of the N9.5 billion fund for the provision of security equipment at some airports during his tenure as Minister of Aviation.
The EFCC claimed, in a statement stating its request for confiscation, that Oduah, who was Minister of Aviation between 2012 and 2014, allegedly colluded with some bank employees to embezzle the fund and allegedly used the money to purchase transmission equipment for Crystal Television Limited, newspaper press, six dredgers and quarries.
Judge Ekwo, in Monday's verdict, annulled the counter-statement filed against the motion to show the cause, filed by Crystal Television Limited and the other companies affected by the provisional order, claiming it was defective.
The judge noted that the counter-statement, submitted to EFCC by his lawyer, O. I. Uket, to refute the companies' claims, was filed out of time without first asking the court for permission for an extension of the presentation time.