Justice E. S Chukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on Monday ordered the extradition of Emmanuel Okoyomon, a former managing director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company [NSPM] to the United Kingdom to face charges of corruption and money laundering.
Mr. Okoyomon’s extradition was sought by the UK government over his alleged role in the bribery allegation involving officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPM and Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.
Arguing the matter, Alex Izinyon, SAN, counsel to the accused, had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain and determine the matter saying that there is no extradition treaty between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
According to him, Nigeria is not a party to the 1931 Extradition Treaty between Nigeria and United States of America.
Mr. Izinyon further argued that, the London Scheme for extradition within the Commonwealth, 2002, does not apply in Nigeria.
He urged the court to dismiss the extradition application.
However, M. S Hassan, who represented the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, countered Mr. Izinyon’s submission.
He explained that the 1931 treaty became applicable to Nigeria in 1935 and was never repealed by any enactment, stressing that schedule 2 under Extradition law provides that, “the law shall apply to all Commonwealth Nations”
Ruling on the matter today, Justice Chukwu ordered that the accused, Mr. Okoyomon, be extradited within 30 days from the date of the ruling to face trial in the United Kingdom while being remanded in prison custody pending his extradition.
Following the October 1, 2009 launch of the polymer bank notes in Nigeria, which saw the N5, N10, and N50 notes remade in polymer material as against the original paper version, a scandal broke that CBN and NSPM officials received bribes to effect the switch to polymer.
NEXT, the now rested Nigerian newspaper, had reported extensively how Securency Pty, a bank note printing company owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), engaged in a series of bribery schemes to secure polymer note printing jobs.
According to the paper, as well as an Australian newspaper, The Age, at least N750 million was paid in bribes to some Nigerian officials between 2006 and 2008 to secure the contract which saw to the initial supply of about 1.9 billion pieces of polymer substrates on which bank notes were printed.
Subsequently, several international investigations over the activities of the bank note company led to the arrest, prosecution as well as sack of several top management staff of the RBA and its sister company, Securency Pty.
In its own investigation, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the EFCC interrogated several officials of the CBN and NSPM.
But while no official of the Central Bank has so far been indicted, the commission has been in court with Mr. Okoyomon, over the request to extradite him to the United Kingdom to face prosecution over some findings related to the allegations.
The U.K. had sought the extradition of Mr. Okoyomon over his alleged role in the bribery scheme allegedly executed between 2006 and 2008.