Extradition: Court remands ex-Mint MD in EFCC custody

Former Managing Di­rector of Nigerian Se­curity, Minting and Printing Company, Mr. Ehidiamhem Okoyomon has told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that he pre­ferred to face trial in Nigeria rather than being extradited to the United Kingdom to face criminal charges.

But in opposition to his re­quest, the Economic and Fi­nancial Crimes Commission urged Justice Evoh Chukwu to grant its application to extra­dite Okoyomon to the United Kingdom where he had been assured of fair trial.

Meanwhile, the Court has ordered Okoyomon to be re­manded in EFCC custody hav­ing adjourned till December 1 for judgment on EFCC’s ex­tradition application after both parties disagreed on the legal­ity and the merit of the applica­tion on Wednesday.

The anti-graft agency, through the office of the Attor­ney General of the Federation maintained that there was no basis to subject Okoyomon to trial in Nigeria where there was no pending charge against him.

The EFCC’s application was informed by the request by the UK government to ex­tradite Okoyomon to the coun­try to face charges relating to bribery allegation involving officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the NSMPC and the Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.

Okoyomon’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), while opposing the application, in­sisted that there was no exist­ing extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK.

Izinyon added that extradit­ing his client to face trial in the UK when part of the crime he was being wanted for in the UK was allegedly committed in Nigeria, would amount to subordination of Nigeria’s sov­ereignty to that of the UK.

He said, “We don’t want extradition. Since part of the alleged crime was committed here (Nigeria), we are ready to face trial in Nigeria.

“In fact, extraditing him to the UK is subordination of our sovereignty to that of the United Kingdom.

“The issue of fair hearing in the UK does not arise. Are we saying there is no fair hearing in Nigeria?”

Izinyon, in adopting his preliminary objection and counter-affidavit to the extradi­tion application, said two stat­utes – the Extradition Treaty of 1931 and the London Scheme for Extradition – relied upon by the EFCC were no longer ap­plicable in Nigeria.

“Combination of these two instruments does not in what­soever, howsoever, cannot and does not confer locus on the Attorney General of the Feder­ation to make the application,” Izinyon said.

He argued that the Extradi­tion Treaty of 1931 (Exhibit A) had been repealed in Nigeria by virtue of section 21(3) of Schedule 4 of Decree 87 of 1966.

He also argued that the London Scheme for Extradi­tion (Exhibit B) was an agree­ment between the United States of America and the UK, which had yet to be domesti­cated in Nigeria.



Source : SunOnline

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