The scheduled arraignment of the former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, was stalled on Monday.
This was as a result of a letter filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Oduah, now a senator representing Anambra North Senatorial district in the Senate, was to be arraigned on 25 counts, along with 8 other defendants over an allegation of fraud committed while she was in office.
However, Oduah and her co-accused persons could not take a plea because of an application by one of the defence lawyers, Ogwu Onoja (SAN), asking the court not to go on with the plea taking, Daily Independent reports.
Onoja informed the court that there was a petition dated January 29, to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in respect of the charge.
According to Onoja, the letter of complaint claimed that Oduah and the other defendants are being persecuted.
Onoja said having submitted the petition to the AGF, “he requested for the file but up till now, the EFCC (Economic and Financial Cimes Commission) vehemently refused to remit the file to the AGF”.
“The question is: Can the AGF request for a file to review a criminal charge, and an agency will say no, Onoja queried.
“My lord, the plea cannot be taken on account of the issue at hand,” Onoja said.
In view of the foregoing, Justice Ekwo said the attention of the court had been drawn to a letter and that the file had been remitted to the chamber of the AGF for review.
The Court said since a statutory and constitutional issue have been raised, it will not hear the case summarily.
Therefore, the court ordered parties to file written addresses on the issue before adjourning to February 10.
The EFCC had alleged that Oduah misappropriated public funds to the tune of N5 billion while serving as Minister of Aviation.