Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said the United States is yet to notify the Nigerian authorities of the indictment of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Limited, Allen Onyema, in the United States on allegations of fraud and money laundering.
THISDAY reported Mr Malami as saying that the US government had neither officially communicated Mr Onyema’s indictment to Nigeria nor requested his arrest or extradition based on a mutual legal agreement on criminal matters between the two countries.
His comments are the first official reaction to the indictment.
This is coming on the heels of a report that a United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia had issued a warrant of arrest against Mr Onyema after his indictment on money laundering and bank fraud charges in the US
According to court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the warrant was signed by an American magistrate, Justin Anand, on November 19. It authorised the U.S. Marshals Service to immediately take Onyema into custody for questioning.
Consequently, the report also said, the United States authorities had frozen about $14.2 million in different bank accounts linked to companies registered by Mr Onyema.
But Mr Malami said he was yet to receive any communication or request for Mr Onyema’s arrest or extradition to the United States following his indictment by a grand jury in Atlanta Georgia.
“We have not received any request from the United States based on existing Mutual Legal Assistance between both countries,” he said.
Asked whether Nigeria would accede to a such request if received, he said, “It would be subjected to justifiable, objective legal analysis and review to evaluate the evidence, just like any other such request based on MLA between Nigeria and United States.”