The anti-graft agency, EFCC, has denied dropping money laundering charges against a former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and her co-accused.
The EFCC in 2018 filed the charges against Alison-Madueke and others, including Dauda Lawal, a former executive director of First Bank.
They were accused of laundering about $153 million public funds in the build up to the 2015 presidential election.
Apart from this trial, Alison-Madueke has also been indicted in several other corruption cases and has forfeited properties worth billions of naira to the Nigerian government.
She is, however, yet to formally face trial as she is believed to be in the UK where she is also being investigated for money laundering.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC said it decided to split the money laundering charges and arraign the suspects separately in order to end the delay the trial has suffered.
“In more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either that Lanre Adesanya was sick and bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or StanleyLawson had had a domestic accident and could not appear in court.
“It was clear that these recurring excuses were ploys to frustrate the arraignment.
“To get around this, the Commission took a deliberate decision, which was disclosed in open court, to separately prosecute the defendants in different courts,” Uwujaren said.