Monday, March 7, 2011

$180m Halliburton scam: Dick Cheney’s court papers missing

A suit by a legal practitioner, Mr. Osuagwu Ugochukwu, before an Abuja High Court against a former Vice President of United States, Mr. Dick Cheney, on Monday suffered another setback as the case file, which had earlier been declared missing, by the court was found.

But copies of processes to be served by bailiffs on the defendants were declared missing.

The plaintiff had filed the action and named the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri, and Cheney as co-defendants to the suit.

Ugochukwu had asked the court to declare as null and void the withdrawal of criminal charges against Cheney through plea bargaining without complying with the provision of the 1999 constitution.

The plaintiff had specifically said that the plea bargaining violated section 6(1)(2)(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution, adding that by virtue of section 14(2) EFCC (Establishment Act 2004), the EFCC could not afford to enter into plea bargaining with Cheney without first arraigning him before a court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria.

When the plaintiff, who appeared on behalf of himself, moved an ex parte order for substituted service on Cheney using his last known address in Nigeria as the then Head of Halliburton worldwide, the court declined his request.

Justice Adebukola Banjoko said the application was not meritorious.

In an attempt to find out whether Ugochukwu had served the defendants the originating summons, the court discovered that the bailiff did not deliver the processes and the said documents could not be found.

Ugochuwku had, in the 17-paragraph affidavit deposed to by him alleged, thus, “That Cheney is a former Vice-President of the United State and was Head/Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton Incorporated between August 1995 and August 2000. That on December 7, 2010, the 2nd Defendant at the instance of the first defendant filed a 16- count charge at the Federal High Court against the third defendant and eight others over acts of corruption and bribery to secure a $6bn Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas project in Bonny.”

The case has been adjourned till May 11.


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