The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, has reacted to a call by the United Kingdom for the extradition of a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, to London.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andrew Pocock, had said Alamieyeseigha, who was pardoned by former President Goodlcuk Jonathan, has an outstanding case of money laundering to answer in the UK.
“The former governor skipped bail in the UK on a charge of money laundering and returned to Nigeria. So, he has an outstanding charge in the UK, which is there for him to answer,” the envoy said.
“We have already discussed it and the Nigerian government knows our views. But we would like to see him return and answer the charge in the UK”, he said.
Commenting, Sagay told The Punch that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government should extradite the former governor.
He said, “Alamieyeseigha allegedly committed a separate crime by laundering money in Britain and that is not a crime in Nigeria but a crime against British Criminal Law and so, Goodluck Jonathan cannot pardon him for that.”
He said the absence of an Attorney General could not stall the trial as an appointment would soon be made to the office.
“Certainly, the case can be stalled but there is a pact between Britain and Nigeria which obliges us to extradite offenders who they are looking for. There is a process. A judge will give consent once there is evidence that there is a prima facie case against him in England.”
While noting that such case should not be seen as political prosecution, Sagay stated that: “This is the new defence for criminal prosecution, which is being drummed up in Nigeria. It does not exist in law.
“Witch-hunt has never been a defence in court. The plea is guilty or not guilty. You are a real witch if you are guilty and should be hunted.”